Thursday, November 5, 2009

Theatrical Questions

Let's be honest folks, I love the theater.
I love watching it, I love being in it, I love the people I meet, I love the lessons I learn, I even love the hair and make-up (crazy, I know).
For the past 8 weeks a group of 15 other students and I have been working our tails off to put together a production that we like to think is of a professional caliber. Tonight is opening night.
As a play, it has a bit of everything. Romance, comedy, love, tragedy, family, conflict, even things that, to our conservative college community, may seem highly inappropriate like sex, drinking, and even a big fight scene.
With so many themes and elements that can, all over, seem rather depressing, we, as a cast have been forced to ask ourselves "What are we actually giving to the community with this performance?"
With a story centered around a beautiful young girl who cheats on her boyfriend and a slightly older couple who can't seem to find lasting happiness, will this play just depress everyone or is there something bigger that we can leave the audience thinking about?
Here is what I've come up with:

What does age really mean?
Does love have an age limit?
How closely related is love to physical attraction, to sex?
Is there a use for beauty? What is it?
Does infatuation play a role in happiness?
What happens when your happiness depends on another person?

Now, these are not easy questions. And this list barely scratches the surface of this issues this play covers. But it often feels like our campus, as a whole, takes the easy way out. That we excuse things and use "Sunday school answers" to difficult questions that, in reality, require much more critical thinking.
I hope everyone in the cast feels good about their performance tonight. I hope the audience gets the jokes and takes the drama seriously. I hope the crew and tech run smoothly, without hiccups or mistakes. I hope no one misses a cue or misplaces a prop.
But, most of all, I hope this play leaves the audience with serious questions (just as it has for the cast) and that no one gives an easy answer to their quandaries and goes home to focus on other things.

Curtain is in an hour, time to get my hair done and finish my make-up!

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