I’ve been trying to explain this to family and friends but nobody seems to get it. I hope that you do.
This past weekend I was lucky enough to get “dragged” into being a stage hand on a community theater production of “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim. I say “dragged” because they didn’t know they needed help until last week, and I’ve never been into musicals. I grew up rolling my eyes every time someone broke into song in old movies. Real life isn’t like that! People are awkward, not beautiful! You get the idea. Well, even if it’s not my thing, I support the arts and artists, and I was happy to help.
Well, I’m hooked now.
I’m sure that there are theater companies where the actors don’t like each other, where the directors are mean, where dueling egos and deadlines drive everyone to the verge of stabbing each other to death with anything they could grab off the prop tables. I was brought in too late to get to know everyone, but I can tell you that the performers were wonderful, dedicated, friendly, and talented beyond belief. I knew that people in theater worked hard, but I didn’t know how hard.
For three nights, I helped move Rapunzel’s tower on and off stage, including a gaffe on the first night where we started pulling it off too soon. I could barely watch the show because it was obscured by curtains and actors running on and off, but I could listen, I could look at their faces and feel the energy that they brought to the show. I feel… tremendously… lucky, and blessed, to have been there. For three nights in a row I shed tears during “Children Will Listen” and “No More.” You have to understand, for the past twelve years I’ve worked on various projects in my day job that have involved hard work and teams coming together on their best days. They didn’t involve singing, and music, and people putting their hearts out there and creating something beautiful. Even if it was just for three nights.
At 46 and never having been on a stage in my life, not to mention having a serious writing addiction, I don’t know where I’ll find the time to make it on stage, even as Villager #4 or Spear Carrier on the Left. But I want to.
Careful the wish you make,
Wishes are children.
Careful the path they take,
Wishes come true, not free.
Into the Woods, “Children Will Listen”