More often than not, when we look for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night, we find ourselves perusing the listings for movies in a theater, or headed for the local video store for the latest DVD. An important part of dealing with the reality of our lives, the stories that we live, is to escape into the stories of others, be they fictional stories, or non-fiction told in an exciting new way. In ancient times, these stories were verbally passed down and told around bonfires at night. Stories like the Iliad and the Odyssey by homer have endured where true history has been lost.
The next generation of story telling came in the form of live stage plays. One of the greatest story tellers of all of time, William Shakespeare made live plays with such enduring truth that every night of the week, somewhere in the world someone is performing his 400 year old work. Movies have been made of his stories, and indeed, untold numbers of entertainers and writers have gained their inspiration from the truths offered by his story telling.
The advent of radio, and then the movie screen and later television, followed by various modes of replaying movies has shaped our story telling experience, and even more, our culture. Let’s face it though ladies; dinner and a movie will us in the mood about as much as burnt toast. We need the romance back. Remember how fun it was the last time you went to a play? I’m not talking about your eight year old dressed up like a tube of toothpaste to fight the cavity creeps in front of his 3rd grade class.
I am talking about the sort of event where you dress up in your finery, find a sitter for the kids, have a meal that includes cloth napkins and a bottle of wine, which then culminates as a place you have dramatically been referring to as the “thee-at-ah” though you are not British, and heave never even left the continent. The “thee-at-ah” comes complete with other intelligent looks adults, who quietly chat amongst themselves during an intermission, in which spiced cider and hot chocolate are served with pretentious cookies. Actors, of various degrees of talent tell us stories, some of which we have heard, and others which may be new. There is a certain sense that though the actors on a move screen are more talented, that an intimacy has been created with those real life people doing their best to entertain us ten feet in front of our noses.
The thing is that when we leave the theater, most of us forget that it exists. Our natural response to being asked, when we buy tickets, if we’d like to join their mailing list is “no”. Why? Is it because we don’t like the theater? No! We love the theater. There’s still something magical about it. We say no to being added to the mailing list because we have conditioned ourselves to say no to being included on more mailing lists. Let me be so bold as to make a suggestion. Phone any and all of the theater groups in your area right away. Get on all of their lists.