Jack eased himself into his mezzanine seat of C20, the quiet drone of a pre-show audience filling his ears. He shrugged off his outer coat, smoothing down the sleeves of his sport coat and wiggling his tie ever so slightly looser.
He glanced at the program in his hands, then shook his head at himself for even grabbing one. As a junior producer of this show with his father, he knew most of the information inside that program by heart. Instead, he let his eyes begin to wander over the audience as he so often liked to do before the shows began. And then his eye lit upon a girl just taking her seat in the row ahead of him in B18.
There were couples on either side of her, so it was evident that she was by herself. She quietly slipped out of her coat, draped it across the seat back, and then comfortably settled in to read her program.
It could have been her looks that first drew Jack’s attention. Certainly she knew how to dress for the theater with her classic black dress and wavy brown hair pulled half-back with a sparkly clip.
But there was something about her firm chin and eyes that seemed captivated by everything she laid them on that drew Jack to her even more. He got the feeling that this was a girl who understood theater – who didn’t just enjoy it, but who entered into it with her soul.
As the show began, Jack found himself watching the girl more than the show itself. She seemed entranced by it, chin in hand, savoring every moment it gave her. He felt that there was no need for her to have a date to see this show with because it was an experience wholly unique to herself – and no one else could enter in to how she was absorbing it. She seemed unaware of everything else around her – it was just her and the story onstage – just as theater is meant to do.
And in those moments of observing the girl, Jack knew – this was why he produced shows. For people like her. Not the distracted men on their phones, dragged there by their wives. Not the grouchy old people who complained they couldn’t hear anything. Not the rich socialites who pretended to like the shows so they could be “cultured.”
No. It was for this girl and every person like her who felt the message of the shows in their very souls – with emotions too deep to put into words – who were captivated and allowed that captivity to brim over in their shining eyes.
They were the ones who made it all worth it.
“This transcendence into unity is the mark of a work of art in the theatre. The more prolonged the moment of unified belief, the more powerful the work of art …” – William Ball
Photo by Peter Lewicki on Unsplash.