I’m starting a new tradition. After completing a show, I will write…something. This, for instance. Okay, preamble complete. Ready... Yesterday was the final show for The Belle’s Stratagem at TAG. The experience, like all theatre experiences, was worth writing about, at the very least. If I stop just now to think what am I left with, I come to this: love. Theatre is love, or, potentially so. Absolute love. That’s why it’s so risky. That’s why it’s terrifying. Because, as we all know, love hurts...(cue Aerosmith—that's the version I hear).
I conjured this idea—that theatre should be terrifying—somewhere around the middle of the run. It was foggy. Something I came to in a daydream, the threads lost in awakening like a breath of smoke. Only the maxim remained: all theatre should be terrifying—because all real emotion is terrifying. I posted it on facebook. A conversation ensued. The gist of the engaged POVs—which I thoroughly appreciate, as conversation is a beautiful way in which to think and that is why I love facebook—was that emotion isn’t the point of all theatre and that telling the story is the most important factor in theatre, to which I replied, in short, yes, telling the story is most important, and any story worth telling should involve emotion, somewhere, somehow.
At that time, I didn’t fully realize what it all meant. I felt it, but I couldn’t articulate it because it wasn’t words yet—it wasn’t thought: it was emotion. It was terrifying, and exquisite.
Here it is as I ken it now, as best I can.
Every story is worth telling. Every play, every tale, every word is worth it, if you make it worth it. And how do you make it so? Simple (but not). All the people involved have to decide, together, to love what they are doing. They all have to feel it. Without that love, even the “best” story will fail. And that love is what’s so terrifying. This isn’t superficial veneer you spread over your performance like icing. This is connection, devotion, submission, passion, attention—or at least the attempt for all that. How often do you love—or try to love—like that for any extended period of time? Seriously, terrifying. And it’s a whole group of you doing it. My goodness. Together. Closeness and trust. Vulnerability and fulfillment.
It’s all about the love.
Love. Not like a hallmark card or a “love ya! ;)”—but the gift of authentic energy converted straight from one’s soul.
That’s the potential of theatre: exquisite, and terrifying.