This past week, I met two young boys who’d never been to the theater before. The revelation saddened me slightly; I was raised on live performance and have been a regular patron of many theaters in Colorado. For these boys to have never gone to the theatre at all, at at the age of ten or twelve, was heartbreaking to me.
I needn’t have been so disheartened that they’d never seen a show, however. Both were so anxious to be in a theater that they acted at least half their age, asking if they might peek inside the theater doors to see what it looked like, bouncing up and down in their seats before the show started because they couldn’t contain their excitement. I watched these two young men who’d never experienced live performance, realizing that it didn’t matter what the show was, that they had to sit still and stay quiet during the performance, or be on their best behavior. It was the mere idea that they were going to watch something come to life right before their eyes that so excited them.
I now realize that this sort of excitement is why I have decided to build my life in the theater. Creating something from nothing in the very room in which the audience sits is the most challenging and thrilling experience I can find.
The two boys I met are not alone in their lack of theatrical experience; I’ve come across people in their thirties and forties who’ve yet to see a live show. It always makes me feel fortunate to have grown up with theatre and even more excited for these individuals as they have no idea the magic that is about to take place right before their eyes. And regardless of their lack of patronage to the theatre previously, these first time theatre goers usually leave with smiles on their faces. Some even make it a point to come up to me and say, “That was a great show!”
As someone who creates theatre, there is no higher praise.