Theatre: The art of showing up

Theatre is a strange and wonderful medium to work in as an artist.
It’s 100% art, but also 100% event. We have a limited opportunity to witness it.
Even shows that will run “forever” like HAMILTON and HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD live fully in the moment, each performance unique to that one night.

Visual arts have the potential to last centuries. The Mona Lisa was painted 500 years ago and can still be seen today. But the theatre…you have to be there in that moment or it’s gone.

This week we weathered the many, many challenges of tech week and last night opened THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, ABRIDGED by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. It is an hysterical show lovingly mocking (irreverently loving?) all that is Shakespeare. The audience loved it, laughing heartily throughout. And over the next few nights and next weekend the show will take stage again.

But ten days from now, we’ll strike the set and the chairs and the lights and it will be as though we were never there.

An immense amount of creativity and effort is poured into a piece of theatre. This play was developed over several years by the Reduced Shakespeare Company in all of their brilliance. Then we took it and rehearsed for five weeks to offer it to our community in this newest staging. And after eight performances, the proverbial curtain will come down and we’ll all move on.

This is all to say, showing up matters.
Being present where you are matters.
What are you bearing witness to that needs your eyes?
What are you missing out on by not being “in the room where it happens”?

My dear friend Jessie Fisher is currently wrapping up a one-year contract starring in HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD on Broadway. I don’t know what role she plays because #keepthesecrets, but I know it’s a substantial role, and I have no doubt of her brilliance. I wasn’t able to get back to NYC to bear witness. I still hope to be in that room at some point, but Jessie won’t be there. I mourn this.

My husband Matt was in a production of KING LEAR several years ago that I wasn’t able to see. I mourn this.

I mourn so many missed opportunities.

Theatre emphasizes the importance of showing up, of listening, of being present.
How many opportunities are we missing because we simply aren’t paying attention?
Eyes up.
Show up.

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