When I was a teenager, it was hard for me to reconcile making art when the world was so broken and in need of help. Wasn’t it trivial and indulgent to to put on plays and musicals when there was a war on, and people were dying because of poverty and want? If we weren’t actively part of a solution, weren’t we part of the problem?
Here, forty years later, is an answer:
The performing arts create loving communities in which we do the work of calling people to their humanity. The canvas of the broken world is shot through with joy and sadness, with love and grief. All of life needs celebration, even the experiences that are so overwhelmingly sad we feel our very hearts will stop beating. Our feelings tell us that we’re alive. When we let them, they remind us to ask for help and offer it in return.
When we make good theatre, everyone involved - actors, crew, house staff, audiences - everyone is called to their humanity; everyone is enlivened. Even if the work of art does not point explicitly to our social responsibility, it highlights our common humanity. Even the worst of times needs art and artists.
Rehearsals for the next play start Aug. 30. I'll be ready.