I have had the pleasure of going to the theater three night in a row. Yes I have watched the same show each night. I live in Whitefish, Montana not NY, so there are two theater groups but only one performance hall. You may be asking why three nights? Or thinking my partner or child must be in the show. Truth is my partner is in the show which is the reason I had tickets for two nights. But the reason I have gone three is because I love live threater. Yes the lines are the same, the story doesn’t change; however, the actors interact differently with each other and the audience each night.
I would not go so often if it wasn’t a wonderful, inspiring play. That does make a big difference. The play, You Can’t Take It With You is a wacky comedy set in the 30’s with a timeless message about living your dreams and being happy not just successful. The Sycamores are a family that remind me a bit of my own. I believe I grew up in a home with lots of things going on, at times people coming and going who were not the norm and the message I got from my folks was one that did resonate with the theme of the movie; do what you love.
However, it wasn’t memories of childhood that took me back to the theater. for the past six to eight weeks I have learned bits of the play quite well as CrisMarie practiced her lines and I played whatever part preceded her entry onto the stage. I also learned many insider stories about the folks who were in the show with her. Their past lives on the stage and their reasons for letting fame go to come and volunteer and thrive in community theatre instead of NY, LA or such places. Still that wasn’t enough to get me there every night. Though it was a significant piece. The commitment these people make to a show is amazing. They do become like ‘family’ and it is something meaningful and purpose driven.
Bottom line I came because each night I loved watching Rheba come to life. CrisMarie has talked of acting for a while and yes she did perform and take many classes a few years back. But this first full production has been something else. She has thrived getting to know her part. At times fearful she wasn’t going to get the accent and at other points believing she was missing the laughs. But mostly she has been fully alive as Rheba – the Sycamore’s maid. I have loved the transformation. For me much more exciting the classes. Plus she has found people like her. People who love performing. People who have taken her in and shown her the ropes of community theater.
They’ve warmed up to me as well. Of course not all shows may be as fun and delightful as this one. There are still five more shows on this run and I imagine some will be less exciting then the first three. I don’t plan on going to them all.
Still I don’t generally watch a movie twice or repeat a TV show especially and never night after night. But live theater that is different. If the lines are well written and the actors know their stuff each night comes to life – resonating with the audience in that moment. Each night is different, unique and that makes theater pop!!
Live Theater seems like such a interesting blend of ego and collaboration. The actors have to own their part and make it bigger then everything else. Then let go of that so they can fully connect and relate to each other each night. Add to that the the audience – an audience that laughs at different parts and in different ways each and every night, leaving the actor to wonder, did I hit my mark? Plus since it is live sometimes a line is dropped or missed providing that moment when someone either picks it up or finds a graceful way through without letting anyone know a mistake was made.
Live theater is really so much like life. We are often repeating patterns, there is not a lot new about daily life. However, if we trust our lines and know our patterns, we can make ourselves important enough to fully embody our unique part. Then we can open, relate and connect to the others on our stage and our audience. That’s when life pops!!