Some of my favorite memories are from the theater; school plays, children's theater and as I've gotten older, community theater.
Even as a young child, I enjoyed playing dress-up with friends, neighbors, my siblings or just by myself. It was so much fun to pretend to be someone else for a little while. I would look for attributes that the character had, that also resided within me. Maybe I didn't regularly access those parts of myself or perhaps I could expand upon them or exaggerate them. Just for fun!
I would put on plays with friends at school, rehearsing in the teacher's closet during recess and lunches and telling them what to say and do. An early budding director!
My friends and I, and even our fifth grade teacher, still talk about how much fun we had writing, producing, directing, costuming and performing our class play!
Part of the joy for me of community theater is getting the opportunity to connect with fellow actors of all ages. Including members of my own family.
From the early elementary grades on up, we form bonds as we develop our characters, showing vulnerabilities while accessing our feelings regarding characteristics or imagined backgrounds and motivations. We let go of inhibitions during improv games or while trying to sing songs that are just a little bit outside of our usual vocal range.
Depend on each other during dance moves, both on stage and on the rehearsal floor during warm-up exercises. Count on each other to share an extra hair pin or safety pin, or to cover for a momentarily forgotten line during a live performance. Are grateful for the reminder when you don't realize that "Places!!" has been called by the Stage Manager. Appreciate the hug, high-five or hearing "Great job!" as you walk off stage at the end of a scene.
Those bonds and friendships don't end when the curtain comes down on the final performance of a show's run. Some of those friendships formed on stage started a decade ago and continue to this day. We have a strong bond that can only have developed from shared experiences and lots of laughs. Lots of laughs!
Not sure when live theater will come back after the pandemic ends. Looking forward to creating theater magic with follow actors. Young and old!