Recently, I saw the matinee theater performance at the school where my husband is the Instructor of Drama. It was his 34th show in 11 years.
I cry at every single show.
It's embarrassing when I write it here.
I don't have a child in the show. Most of the shows aren't tearjerkers by nature. And my husband has done enough of these that, while I'm proud of him, it's not a tears-in-your-eyes kind of proud every time.
I cry because live performance is brave.
That's why watching it is such a different experience from watching something on a screen. You're in the room with a character who is experiencing something. You're in the room with a real human being (the performer) who is trying to do something in front other people. And there are so many possibilities there.
The performer could fall.
The set could crumble.
Someone could go up on a line and the whole thing could come to a screeching halt.
You, an audience member, could just get up and walk onto the stage if you really wanted to.
What we're watching, whether it's a cringeworthy failure or a heart-lifting triumph, is a struggle. A brave attempt to tell a story and keep everything moving forward in front of a bunch of people, all while knowing that something can go wrong.
Knowing that something probably will go wrong. Not knowing whether it will be a big thing or a little thing. Or everything.
Just like in life.
You are out here where everyone can see you. And that is brave.
I love you, and you are not alone.
. . .
I'm posting this today after being at two live performances last night. One was little kids, being brave at the elementary school variety show--ukelele, singing, rap, jumprope, and even a father-son stand-up comedy act. One was grown-ups, being brave in an extraordinary production of The Moors at our community's beloved Manbites Dog Theater.
Thank you to those of you who make the art. Thank you to those of you who make space for the art to happen. Thank you to those of you who show up for the art when you can.
With love from Cheryl