Last night, Boyfriend and I went and saw Black Watch. It was pretty much just as amazing as everyone told me it would be. I would recommend it if you aren't afraid of a little loud noise, men dancing and singing, and the grim reality of how dumb those in charge of America can be sometimes.
A week ago we also took in The Wizard of Oz as envisioned by Bell Elementary school. One of the youth from the organization I work for was in the cast and his Mom gave us tickets. It was a feat of theatrical amazingness for totally different reasons. I find getting elementary school students to do anything to be akin to getting a shark to abandon a bloody carcass. Nearly impossible. Particularly when they are in a large group. This cast had over 100 kids in it. Ages 7 - 12. And an actual dog. Good lord. And they pulled it off. I could get on my soap box about how kids today are coddled and they all have body mics and back in my day you learned how to project or you Got Off The Stage, but I won't. Not right now.
Anyway, in both of these shows, just like in most theatrical productions I've seen in the past 15 years, when it came time for the curtain call I found myself thisclose to bawling my eyes out. I have no idea what is wrong with me (although, I am a girl, so bawling my eyes out in public is practically acceptable, if not encouraged).
Live theater has always been my number one Boo. Watching and performing. And I get it, its not what I'll make all my dollars doing- but that does not take away from the fact that it is my most.favorite. And something about curtain call just gets me all riled up and full of emotion. Its so ridiculous.
I think part of it is just being aware of how much work goes into putting up a show. You can't know until you've done it. Until you've sewed costumes through the early morning hours, and done the same four steps an uncountable number of times. You've gotten high off of paint fumes - and not the fun kind of high, but the kind where it makes all your food taste like rubbing alcohol, you've folded programs and risked your life changing the gels in the hardest to reach lights even though you've thought to yourself that there are probably less than two people in the audience who will Even Notice.
But you do it, because you love it. And you don't even think about it, you cry in dark stairwells and over cigarettes just outside propped open emergency exit doors. The curtain call is that first breath you get after weeks of holding it in. Its weird to do something and have the end result be based almost entirely on the reaction of a whole bunch of random people. And I empathize with that first breath. Because I've been there too.
It'd be one thing if you hired to design a building, or build a computer program, or fix a car - and there is a constant dialogue between you and the customer, "I like this, change this, do this," and an invoice of how much time and thought and energy went into it. Although, truth be told, if engineers and architects wanted to take curtain calls in front of their customers, I would have no problem with that.
Because here's the thing - its awesome to take a curtain call. PS- I think its totally bogus that backstage people don't get to take one (at Bell every single student who was part of the production took a bow, all the lights/make up/choreography people - it was kind of awesome). Being applauded for doing something well is an incredible feeling and one that I think inspires more creation.
Also theater is an incredibly powerful medium and perhaps I drank a bit too much of the Kool-Aid, but the message of whatever they are saying ("War is terrible and dumb," "Love your family and your friends,") can come across so strongly in a play and the curtain call is that moment where I find it all sinking in and my emotions getting the better of me.
Anyway - so that's my really guilty secret for the week. I cry at curtain calls. I'm a weenie. But seriously, go see Black Watch.