Those of you who follow these posts know how I occasionally treat myself to an Artist’s Date–that is a date with moi. It’s an opportunity to give my overworked and often recalcitrant muse a break, a distraction as it were.
For me, there is nothing my muse likes better than attending live theatre. (That’s with an “re”, dudes, the way it was meant to be.)
There is a history here, and it begins at Whitman College, winter of 1966-67. My freshman year to date had been one epic disappointment after another. I was a square peg and all the holes were round. The studies were challenging, the social scene unnavigable for a hick like me. But I had signed up for one activity–volunteering a couple times a week at Whitman’s amazing Harper Joy Theatre. It became, for me, the one thing I truly looked forward to in the week. I am pretty certain that little gig allowed me to stay marginally sane for two academic years.
Apparently, they liked me too. Somebody found some grant money. Imagine my surprise when they actually asked me to work in the office in exchange for filthy lucre. I quit my cafeteria job to do something that, I was learning, I loved. I loved the people most of all, the off-the-wall craziness amongst the cast and crew that is unique to theatre. Nowhere but in theatre have I found the ups and downs, the laughter and tears, and the emotional bonding both on and off stage. Hell, I wasn’t even a part of the productions, but I was one of them and it was all for one and one for all. By God, I was home!
And there were the plays–Oliver, Marate-Sade, Oh What a Lovely War, Cabaret, just to name a few. I saw all of them. On a weekend night, if I didn’t have plans (which was most of the time), I’d wander over to Harper Joy and fill a vacant seat. If a friend came to town, we’d go to the theatre to see whatever was playing. I couldn’t see those plays too many times. I never tired of them. And I never have.
One thing you will notice in upcoming blogs is my return to theatre. I will be reviewing the occasional play on these pages. It will not take the place of my regular blogs about Story, writing, or Emma Golden’s many adventures. Rather, I look at it as a part of the whole, the whole being Story.
Theatre is all about Story and the myriad ways humans interact. It is sitting in a room, invisible, and hearing all the best gossip. It is folklore, it is art, is the dramatic arc we novelists all so appreciate. I am embracing it, and by God, I am home!
Funny how we go back to our roots! I am returning to my “thespian self” of high school. Our local community theatre needs volunteers and I need them to put creativity back in my life. My last gig was as the oldest and wisest vagina in “The Vagina Monologues” eight yrs ago. I don’t care if I am a stage hand or wardrobe mistress: it’s the thrill of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd or the fun crazy people u meet, isn’t it!
More fun than just about anything!
Judy–I almost went to Whitman as a freshman in 66-67 but at the last minute chose Willamette because they offered more $, I worked backstage at the theatre there. Makes me wonder–would we have met 35 years earlier? would we have liked each other as much as we do now?
I certainly would think so!
you do know about the opportunity to “usher” as a volunteer in the PDX theatre arena correct? one does need to commit to a certain # of hours per month but the bonus is getting to watch live theatre for free.
Yes, I volunteered at Portland Center Stage some years back–I was on the “Entertainers” team. We cooked and fed cast and crew. It was a blast.
A novel or a play, it’s all story-telling. Writing is theatre of the mind; theatre is acting out the imagination. Surely the fun is in the collaboration with like-minded souls to create a unique event. And have you noticed the double meaning of ‘play’?
Indeed! And didn’t someone say, “The play’s the thing….”?
Good story Judy. Theatre is so good for the spirit!! I remember my days in school and being involved in play acting.
Grandson Lucas will be attending SOU in Ashland this fall and we look forward to visiting him and seeing some plays.
Sounds like a blast!