Jan 312012
 
Authors: Morgan Mayo

It is a world unlike any other.

A place where time can stand still beneath superficial lights and race wildly in the surrounding darkness. Where a new world is born every single night to that sudden hush of muted conversations, the metallic smell of makeup and beaded perspiration, the clench in everyone’s chest as the curtains part for the first time and you see this infant of a world, dreamt from a hundred imaginations, alive and pulsing for the very first time.

The wonderful thing about the theatre is that it can be anything you want it to be: a coming home or an escape, extrinsic or introspective, fact or fiction, question or absolution.

It is an intimate experience of make-believe that society has never been able to parallel. Movies provide the same cookie-cutter experience, the same stagnant story, each time you watch them.
But the theatre is a distinctly human endeavor. The artistry of different actors, the slight variations in how the light falls or the way a costume fits, evolving performances, human flaw. You will never see the same play twice. Thus, each journey you take in the theatre can never be re-created.

I grew up in, around and of the theatre. I was taken to see my first Broadway play when I was five (Cats, if you’re wondering) and acted for the first time when I was six. I was the monkey in Dr. Doolittle.

For years I took dance classes, voice lessons, attended every summer drama camp I could. I stayed up all night to watch the live coverage of the Broadway auditions for Annie. Most kids were singing along to Barney cassettes and I was belting out show tunes and ordering my mother to call me Mr. Mistoffelees.

In high school, the theatre was where I spent most of my time, made all of my closest friends and found all of my love interests. It was a place where I could hide away all of my doubts and anxieties about the future and become somebody completely new for a few hours. When I was on stage, all of life’s stresses would get quiet and fade away.

And then, after one of our late night rehearsals, tragedy struck. After everyone had gone home for the night, there was an electrical fire, and by the time I woke up the next morning the theatre had completely burned to the ground.

The next morning my mom drove me to see the charred ruins, and I sat in the backseat and cried. Because for me, the theatre wasn’t just mortar and stone or some drafty building where I spent my afternoons. It was this living, breathing entity through which flowed all the hopes, desperations and passion of centuries of dreamers before me. The theatre is a modicum of another time that has somehow survived a thousand years of dying kings, wars and famine just to flutter its red curtains at a new audience each night.

Young lovers dying together in a tomb, three witches telling the future, a tortured son thirsting for revenge, children wandering into a wardrobe, a young girl singing about tomorrow –– all brief glimpses of the human condition throughout time, the creeds and desires of men and women 600 years ago, not so different from ours today.

As college students, it’s hard to make to ends meet sometimes. When you go a week living on rice cakes in order to pay the rent, the thought of spending money on theatre tickets is a rather far-fetched concept. But as educated people, we should always strive to support the local arts and preserve those bones of tradition that keep us walking forward.

Theatre lies at the heart and imagination of every community. Without it, our society would have no soul. So whether it’s The Lincoln Center, Bas Bleu or any of the other well-deserving theatre venues in Fort Collins, skip the bars and bad pizza one night and go to a play. Enjoy a unique journey, glimpse the constancy of humanity through the years and witness the birth of a new world.

Awkward times are ahead my friends. But until we meet again…Cheers!

Morgan Mayo is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Wednesdays in the _Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com._

 Posted by at 3:39 pm

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