THE PLAY’S THE THING…THANKS TO THE CREW
My latest play “Calling Home” debuted this past weekend (as a full production; it previously lived as a staged reading) as part of the New Ground Theatre annual playwrights festival. If you missed it, shame on you. All will be forgiven, though, if you go to one of next weekend’s shows. And bring a friend. Or seven.
I am by far not a veteran of the theatre. I’ve acted a little and had now several things I’ve written produced for the stage, but the whole thing is still a fairly young medium for me work in.
The giddy thrill of hearing words I wrote spoken by actors on a stage and going out to entertain a roomful of strangers looking to be moved or amused or (ideally) both hasn’t completely left and I hope it never will. But, I have gained enough experience to tamper the giddy ( not to be confused with gilding the Lilly. No, I’m not sure what it means either.).
This time, during production, I found myself watching more of the behind the scenes stuff. The words on the page are hugely important, of course. But they make up only one part of an enormous machine, a juggernaut of entertainment. There are the actors, of course. And the director.
But there are lots of other people too. There’s the producer/theatre who picked your show to begin with. There’s the crew that builds and paints the sets. There’s the crew that changes out the set between scenes. The lighting and sound people. The wardrobe people. The person who made the poster.
We all know this, of course. But it’s easy to forget. We shouldn’t, but we do. Remember that, writers. What the audience sees isn’t just your words, but the culmination of a lot of people’s work. You’re just a part of a bigger whole.
There’s good theatre in that lesson.
Not a bad lesson for life either.