How privileged we are as performers! What a gift it is to be the conveyor of emotion across a brightly-lit stage. To those of us who claim the stage as our second home, we forget that it does not come naturally to everybody, and that there are thousands upon thousands out there who will never experience the rush of adrenaline that comes from being swept up in the song and story unfolding upon the stage.
Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how anyone could resist the pull to the stage! Who could say no to stepping into so many different characters’ lives – living out drama upon drama – becoming a part of this thing we call the human race in so many different ways? Every part of the theater beckons … from the thick coat of pancake make-up you spread across your face each night to the gobs of hairspray swirling around the room to backstage whispers to spotlights shining in your eyes to the thundering applause of the audience … so many people will never know. They will never know the difference between a quick change and a step-ball change … they will never know what gets said on the headset backstage … nor how we critique them as a “good” audience or a “bad” audience … the tight embraces, the tears on closing night, the exhaustion and utter joy that comes from being a part of something bigger than you and so utterly satisfying – they will never know.
They – the audience – come and see a storey lived out on stage before them. They laugh, they cry, they get the chills, they identify so deeply with the characters onstage and the message being portrayed, and then they go home – maybe a little changed for the better because of it. And that is our job as performers. It’s not about us and our glory. It is about being used as instruments to tell a story – to affect the audience in this deep way. If such is accomplished, then we can rest at ease, knowing we have done our job well. We have such power in the expression in our eyes, in the tremble in our voices, in the movement of our dance, in the soaring notes of our song – the power to reach out to another human, and have them see themselves in the story – to realize that we are all the same deep down inside. Let us never take for granted such a power and a privilege, and let us forever ring forth the stories and legends across the stage.