A blurred nighttime photo of the Chicago Theater sign.

Theatre Love

I earned my keep as an actor for most of my life. I love the theatre. I also love reading and books and there came a time in my 60s when it seemed like a good idea to give writing a full time go.

The more I write, the more I love doing that too. But starting next year, God willing, I’m going to take a break for a while.

“What are you going to do with yourself?” asks the little voice inside me that I keep handy to ask questions when I need questions asked.

“Funny you should ask,” I say. “But since you do, here’s what I have in mind:”

I’m going to go to the theater.  I’m going to go to the theater every night for weeks, maybe months on end.

If you catch the theater bug and end up seeing lots of plays of every variety, it can easily become a serious addiction.

I haven’t acted on stage in years. Recently, I realized I’ve barely attended the theater in years.

I miss it. I think it is the most exciting, vibrant art available to the lucky ones of us who have the opportunity to see living theatre in action.  No other art form is as electric. When you go to a play, you are a part of that art form.

Ask any actor. Ask any theatre professional. When you attend a play, you are every bit as important as anyone who had any role in making that production happen—including the writer, director, and producer. And, amazingly, you, sitting comfortably in your theater seat, are alive in that story, as much a part of it as any of the actors on stage.

A group of actors wearing early 20th century period costume during a theatre production.

When it’s a good production of a good play, there is an electric current that you in the audience are an organic part of. You are palpably connected to, and one with, the actors on stage. They are no longer actors, they are the characters they are playing, and you are a vital part of what makes them live. When it works—and people have given a good piece of their lives to make it work—you are watching, hearing, sensing, and taking part with your entire being in the life-and-death drama, the comedy, the tragedy, and the gamut of human experience that’s playing out in front of you.

Go take in a good play one of these days. You’ll be reminded of how exciting it can be.  P.S. Someone may have noticed I spelled theatre (theater) both acceptable ways. I just never could make up my mind.