One of the things I love most about theatre is the opportunity it gives me to see into the life and experience of someone else. It’s a chance to look into the window of someone’s life and even share it with them for a “moment”. It brings understanding of where they have been and what has made them who they are.
On the surface, we may be quick to judge a person we come into contact with or a character on stage. Maybe they said or did something we did not like, or perhaps are far removed from our own experience, but onstage we get a chance to be reminded that they are in the middle of their story and their “mess”. Some parts of it might actually feel a bit familiar, yet even good comes when you can’t relate at all. There is hope for a good ending, and like “real life”, it may not come, but there is value in the story told because someone saw it and they were moved.
As their story unfolds, we might get a glimpse of their “why” or the “how” of their “what”. Sometimes there is more context onstage than we get in “real life”. I love the gentle breezes of understanding, the feathers of empathy that float about the room. The unexpected bursts of laughter are always fun, but the tears, reminders of life, are welcome too.
It’s interesting that the ancient Greek word for theatre, the place of the performance, meant “the seeing place”. I love that; it certainly is true. There is the “seeing” of the action on stage… the physical realm. But there is deeper “seeing” as well. The emotional undercurrent that happens when subtle expressions and body language tell a story different from the one revealed by words. Also, there is the “seeing” of the spirit, where the action reveals an unspoken story of courage, or loss, or resolve, or love, or family bonds.
At last, there’s the “takeaway”. Mine may be totally different from yours, yet precious all the same. We leave the “seeing place” with a common experience, a little treasure tucked into our heart that reminds us that life is holy and your own story is yet to be told.