The Love of Theatre

There is no experience quite like live theater.  I love going to the movies and I love my TV shows, but what I love the most is seeing live theater.  I’ve seen some really good…and some really bad…theater during my life.  Even the bad theater has something redeeming about it, though–people who are willing to risk themselves enough to stand up on stage and pretend to be someone else for a few hours.  I can’t help but be in awe a little bit of the people on stage!  They are amazing to me, even the mediocre ones!

Last night, I went to see “Spring Awakening” with my friend Liz and two of her friends.  I didn’t know much about the show, except that there was some “explicit” stuff in there that I needed to be prepared for (and I was…ish).  While the show was beautiful and haunting and emotional, one of the things I loved the most was seeing the show with her friend Tim, who loves it and feels an attachment to the story, the characters and the music.  There is just something about seeing theater with someone who loves it that makes such a difference to me.  And, he reminded me a lot of myself when I see RENT.  The inhaled, semi-held breath, the wide-eyed stare to catch every moment, the willing your heart to beat quieter so you don’t miss a bit of subtle music or dialog, leaning forward so he could get a little closer to the stage…he did it all.  And, because he was totally committed to the experience, it made me like the show even more.

I can’t put into words exactly what I’m trying to say – but there is something about totally surrendering yourself to the experience of theater that can and will change you.  There are universal truths in theater that are easier to see through the eyes of characters and a little bit of distance.  There are stories and moments that have changed me, and moments that have caused me to see a little more of the world than I had before. 

I don’t want to give away the story, but the final song of “Spring Awakening” was one of those moments where I am pretty sure I just didn’t breathe the entire time.  Here are the lyrics:

And All Shall Fade

The Flowers of Spring
The World and all the Sorrows
At the heart of everything


but still it stays
the butterfly sings
and opens purple summer
with a flutter of its wings


The earth will wave with corn
the grey-fly choir will mourn
And mare will neigh
With Stallions that they mate
Foals they’ve born


And all shall know the wonder of purple summer…..

And yet i wait
the swallow brings
a song too hard to follow
that no one else can sing


the fences sway
the porches swing
the clouds begin to thunder
crickets wander murmuring


the earth will wave with corn
the grey-fly choir will mourn
and mares with neigh
with stallions that they mate
foals they’ve born

And all shall know the wonder
I will sing the song of purple summer.

And All shall know the wonder
I will sing the song of purple summer.


All shall know the wonder of purple summer…..

In that moment, I wanted more than anything to experience that wonder.  After all the sadness and darkness of the show, it leaves you with a moment where you are asked to believe in the wonder of something better…of the wonder of a purple summer. 

And then I left the theater…breathless and sad, hopeful and lost in the wonder.  That is an experience that only happens when I experience live theater.  So, I want to think Tim for reminding me last night of the wonder of the stage – and where it can take us.

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