What does theatre mean to you?
June 28, 2017
What does theatre mean to you? Take a moment and think it over. What does theatre mean to you? Do you have an answer already? Was it easy to think of? Or are you at a loss for words? For people who are immersed in the world of theatre day in and day out, the answer can be hard to come up with on the spot. Through asking some very unexpecting people in the building this question, I was hoping to find out what theatre means to different people who work at the Old Creamery Theatre.
Theatre is storytelling. Tech intern, Kat Merriman, says, “Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions of humanity.” Actor and light designer, Jim Vogt, also recognizes that, “Theatre is the mirror. It’s using stories to tell what is true, should be true, or what could be true in the world.” Summer acting intern Brennan Urbi reflected that, “I think theatre is a tool to say something about what is happening now, problems that we could face, or a reflection of what has happened.” By embracing theatre, people can tap into the oldest form of communication. It’s the chance to step into the lives of another person, culture, or experience and feel empathetic and compassionate for humanity.
Theatre is community. A general consensus is that most people did not actively seek out spending their entire lives in the theatre. Instead, the theatre is a place where people from all different backgrounds can stumble upon and find a home. Whether it is for a night and one show, or a lifetime of performing. Artistic Director of the Old Creamery, Sean McCall, states that, “for the world it means, just for a moment, getting pulled into whatever world is being created around them.” Getting pulled into a different world for even a moment is a powerful thing. Million Dollar Quartet’s Carl Perkins played by Nathan Burke reflects that, “I think [theatre’s] the only art form or experience that humanizes people and bring people together. It has the potential to bring people together in a way that other things can’t or won’t.”
Theatre is cathartic. Through seeing a show, or performing in one, people can see the world through a different set of eyes. This in the end can help us understand how we view ourselves and our community around us. This experience is unlike other entertainment sources because theatre involves real people directly in front of you, and all around you, sharing a connection. Marketing Manager Lily Allen-Duenas mentions, “Theatre means life, means simulating life, taking life and shifting, evolving, recreating it so it can be directly experience and shared with others.” For first time theatregoers, like General Manager, Pat Wagner’s, grandchildren whom she brings to see performances it is completely mesmerizing for them. For people who have been doing theatre for years, like actor David Q. Combs, it’s the defining aspect of his life, or the lens through which he sees the world through. Actor Elijah Jones stated, “I think that theatre is a celebration, as well as an educating experience on what it means to be alive and empathic towards humanity.”
In the end, theatre can be everything and anything. It’s that collective excitement that builds through community. It’s that one moment in time where the magic of what is happening on stage becomes more important than all your personal daily strife and woes. Theatre is a way of reflection, community, and inclusion. So, what does theatre mean to you? Do you have an answer now? Does it align with these views, or does it mean something different to you? In the end, the answer is not what matters to this question. It holds a slightly different meaning for everyone, and every meaning, of course, is perfectly correct. Because like a piece of living art, the beauty, and the meaning is in the eyes and hearts of the beholder.