This week I was helping a writer friend send out invitations to her upcoming reading. A talented writer, out of necessity she’s had to learn how to be her own producer as well, and is sometimes overwhelmed with all of the myriad of things that must be done. As this is more in my skill set than hers, and as we’ve been friends for years, I was more than happy to help out.
It can be overwhelming. We headed to the pool for a much-needed break.
Between the relief of the coolness of the water and a temporary relief from the intense deadlines looming back in the house, we laughed and shared war stories of past reading nightmares and other theater mishaps. Some unexpected stress, some unexpected near-disaster is guaranteed to show up out of nowhere, just at the worst possible moment. We all know it. It always happens. We should just expect it.
Why do we DO this to ourselves?
WHY Are You Still in Theater?
Often theater people agree among themselves that theater is a terrible addiction. The pursuit of this art often wrecks havoc on our personal lives, our personal finances, and often spills out into other lives that we care deeply about – especially our spouses and our children.
Why, then, this deep driving desire to express ourselves in this art?
I have no answers. Therapy hasn’t given me many either. I’ve learned to accept that I was just “born this way,” much as I accept that I was born in Ohio as a SWF but never quite fit in there.
Circling around the whys never is productive – that’s in the past. All our power is in the present.
What I Believe
However, WHY I still am in theater, and why I continue to choose this as my life’s work, is massively important.
For me, I create theater because:
- Stories told on stage become part of the cultural conversation and can create social change. (Wow! I CAN make a difference!)
- Theater encourages a shift in individual perspectives When an emotional identification occurs in the audience, it often builds compassion and empathy where none previously existed.
- Participating in theater allows creative people to inhabit many worlds in one lifetime. It keeps life interesting and fun!
- Theater people are really COOL 🙂
A life in theater has given me AND my family an amazingly interesting life. I am able to meet and co-create with intelligent and interesting, creative people who have something to say and a passion to share their message. It’s a chance for me to fully live my life and my times, and to contribute something of significance. (Remember Maslow’s pyramid.)
I often hear from my students that their parents would not allow them to major in theater, despite their desire to study it in college. Some cite grim statistics in sad voices. But others find a way to pursue their passion, because there’s no other way to live. It’s just who they are. They too were “born this way.”
Why Do YOU Stay in Theater?
So now I want to hear from YOU. What’s your reason? Why are YOU still in theater?
I’m looking forward to hearing your stories, to uplift us and to remind us that we are all in this together. Collaboration doesn’t just happen during a production, it happens every day in this wild, crazy business as we meet and talk, reminisce and rehearse. Every day.
Simon Sinek famously challenges us to find our why. “Start with WHY you do what you do,” he says.
I think that’s a good place to start a blog. I showed you mine.
Post your WHY in the comments below. Share your passion and belief with all of us now. We’re all in this art together, and I’m so grateful you’re here. We need to hear each other’s stories.
Who knows what weary writer needs to be uplifted at this moment? 🙂
Sending love and light,