I recently heard a statement from someone regarding theatre that got me thinking. It wasn’t until someone else verbalized the sentiment that I realized that I shared the feeling. We were discussing upcoming auditions, performance dates, rehearsals, and those things and while telling me that the show he is currently working on will likely be his last for a while he went on to say, “Community theatre is supposed to be about community bonding, having fun. At first it was, but it’s gone now.”
I have to admit…that one got me. Right in the feels, if you will. I had to stop for a moment to process that. Even now, as I sit here typing this, I am still trying to wrap my head around the accuracy of that statement. The thing is, this isn’t someone who has been doing this for over half his life and I would expect to be getting “burned out”. He is a relative newcomer to the theatre scene and, in my opinion, should still be pretty charged up about being involved. But to hear him talk about the changes he has seen in just a few short years, you would think he had been around for the founding of some of the groups in the area.
Then I thought some more and it hit me…this isn’t the first time I have heard someone say, just this week, that this isn’t fun anymore!
Now, before anyone jumps down my throat and starts yelling about how it’s not all just fun and games…I know that. Believe me. I know. I act. I direct. I build sets. I Stage Manage. I run sound. I run lights. I make costumes. I do marketing. I work the box office. I sell concessions. I usher. I have served on a theatre board. I understand the business. I know that theatre is a product that has to be sold. I know that people will hand over money faster for a higher quality product than they will for a lesser one.
But think about this: in all of that, there is fun to be found…somewhere. It is possible to accomplish the work and have fun while we do it. Isn’t it? We did it before.
Does the “quality” of the performance really suffer that much if we relax just a smidge and let ourselves have a little fun at rehearsal, backstage, or in the green room?
As I said, just some food for thought.
♥ Nellie Wingfield