One wonderful thing about the New Year is that just about everyone seems ready to tackle something new, try something different, or just be open to any of the infinite possibilities that lay before us. If you are reading this because you see live performances regularly, thank you for your patronage and I have a favor to ask.
If you have friends that don’t normally go to the theatre – for any reason whatsoever – I would like for you to talk up the experience. What is it that makes you an enthusiastic audience member? Is it great acting, a great story, something completely unexpected, laughter, music? Or something else entirely?
Whatever it is, tell your friends about it. Tell them about how friendly the box office personnel are, and the bartenders and the ushers. Tell them about that initial moment of excitement when the lights dim and you know you’re about to go on a wild ride and you’re not even sure of the destination. Tell them that live theatre is as different as it can be from watching a movie, television show, or web series.
Live theatre is – well, alive. It’s ephemeral, it’s smoke. No two performances are ever exactly the same. The audience is a part of the experience adding their excitement and their energy to the event.
I’m old enough to remember when Richmond only had a handful of theatres from which to choose. While the old joke about our fair city reminds us that all real Richmonders prefer the way things used to be, for my money, having so many wonderful theatres around us is much much better for everyone. Very few cities our size have the kind of choices we have: musicals in one theatre, cutting edge drama in another, and maybe only a few blocks apart. Theatre that presents stories of the LGBTQ community or one that presents a number of light classics.
Richmond has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to seeing live theatre. Unless I miss my guess, you probably attend several different theatres. That’s wonderful if you do, art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The stories we all tell need to be heard. In our community, very few - if any - actors, directors, and designers exclusively work for one theatre. We are all family and sometimes work on shows in other theatres and we are glad when our audiences experience other theatres.
As you are talking up your theatre experiences with your friends, invite them to come with you one evening. Theatre experiences only improve when you have someone with whom you can share them. And if you don’t mind, I would love to hear from you what are some of your favorite theatrical memories. It doesn’t matter where you saw them, I just want to know what made you feel.
If you feel so inclined, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about it. Fair warning, I may want to include some of these stories in a future blog post, so please tell me if you don’t want your story shared. I will honor any such requests.
Until next time, I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!