Monday, October 24, 2011

The White Whale

I have doubts about my chosen profession daily.
Does it matter?
The average person might attend one theatrical event per year...if that. Can our art truly touch the masses? Not in the way movies and television and even the radio can.
Maybe we should give in...and get out. No seriously. Maybe...

But then I see something that strikes a chord with me. It reminds me why theater is so important.
Magic happens.
A huge white whale appears before your eyes in a small black box theater, swimming through space that   transformed into an endless ocean with the help of a dozen actors, pvc pipe and nothing more. Ethereal music sings inside your veins and twelve actors move as one.

 Ensemble based work is the heartbeat of good theater.  When a director is able to get twelve actors to create communion with one another, to think, move and breathe as one gives the audience permission to feel, to be changed and moved.

Of the 600+ shows I have logged as a professional audience member...Only a handfull of shows have created such magic and mystery, with the story so well told that the hairs have stood up on both my arms and legs and water pooled in the ducts of my eyes. The most recent occurrence did not happen on a Broadway stage or a big theater in the West didn't even happen in a Regional or Chicago Store Front theater...but in the black box of the Theatre School at DePaul University.  If DePaul's MFA directing candidate Ian Frank can literally create "Moby Dick" and send shivers down my spine with an ensemble of BFA and MFA acting students...I can't wait to see what he can do once he graduates.

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