I don’t know where I will file this article. It’s not a review, it’s certainly not news, nor is it an interview (unless one can interview oneself.)
I want to talk about the debt we audience members owe to the performers, creative staffs, and crew whose work we get to enjoy throughout the year. They start every production with a blank sheet of sketch paper or a table read. They hear the director’s vision, they create their own. Like us, they go about the regular calls of life – grocery shopping, paying bills, taking care of loved ones – but the play is never far from their minds.
They spend hours memorizing lines and movement, sketching ideas, building the show. They do whatever is necessary to help realize their character, or build the costume, or work out the lighting scheme, while holding down one or more jobs because it would be very difficult to live solely on the salary they will receive for this work.
If there’s a storm or a traffic jam, if their back aches, if they just had a breakup, if they’re sick or sad, they show up, and wait for us to arrive. They are all precious people. And there is simply no other explanation as to why they continue to create theatre, except love.
This past year, I have started a new practice. As the house lights dim, I take a few seconds, close my eyes, and silently thank the people who painted the set, hung the lights, or are waiting backstage. I feel the stage lights come up, and I’m ready to receive the world of the play.
And there’s one more new tradition for me. Now that theatreWashington has established an emergency fund for theatre professionals known as Taking Care of Our Own, I make a donation at the start of the season to show my appreciation and I invite you to do the same. The fine people at theatreWashington organize various events throughout the year to raise money for the fund, including tonight’s Summer Hummer. But why wait for someone to ask? Why not take care of our own? Out of love.
I’ll file this article under Ideas.