There is something inherently magical about theater above all other art forms.
I can’t quite put my finger on it but theater has me under its spell, its gravitational pull, drawing me toward it, making me perpetually impressed by its abilities.
Theater has a way of transporting audience members to any time and place from the inside out.
It is self-aware enough to recognize its disadvantages, but it is confident enough in itself as an art form to use those disadvantages as a propeller.
Not being film, and thus not having the convenience of double-takes or an angle of choice, theater is, by nature, as real as it gets. A flubbed line, missed cue and emotional reaction just reinforces its genuine nature, and you can’t help but be humbled to share that simultaneously intimate and public experience.
I was always hypnotized by theater, but decided to make it an integral part of my life in high school, when I chose to pursue it as a career path.
After realizing the time and committment this would entail, I yielded to temptation and chose to write, something I’d always been passionate about and was naturally good at. I have compromised a balance between the two and now consider writing theatrical reviews one of my most refined skills.
I often joke with myself that those who can’t do teach and those who can’t perform review, but I’m learning to see the necessity in my work as a parallel to the necessity of the work performed onstage.
Similar to the natural catharsis writers feel after and while producing a piece, actors experience a release while and after performing. An audience isn’t inherently necessary, but they do help propel a performance forward.
I have been fortunate enough to witness some incredible moments both on the Broadway, off-Broadway and SUNY New Paltz stage.
I sobbed watching Patti LuPone break the fourth wall in “Gypsy,” I snort-laughed during the Theater Department’s performance of “The Producers,” and I was taken on an emotional roller coaster watching Estelle Parsons stumble across the stage in “August: Ostage County.”
Theater forces viewers to face themselves with a critical eye, gives a voice to those silenced by oppression and strives, as all art forms should, to imitate even the dustiest corners of life. It has helped me forget, forced me to remember, and above all, made me feel. It is genuinely as real as it gets, and I am grateful to have experienced it all from the outside looking in.