All I Really Need to Know I Learned In The Theatre
Last updated 8/21/2014 at 9:21pm | View PDF
American author Robert Fulghum wrote that all the wisdom a person needs in order to live well could be learned in kindergarten. The same can be said of community theatre.
Live a balanced life
The happiest people live balanced lives. Every day they work hard, they sing a bit and maybe dance. They might paint a picture and some take themselves down to their community theatre and get involved. Living a balanced life often involves trying new things.
"It's never too late to fly," Fulghum wrote. And it is never too late to join a community theatre group.
"We recently had an enormously successful show, 50 Years of Broadway. Everyone that auditioned was able to participate... we got to bring new faces to our group. We have a very healthy mature actor core," said Corey Ralston, a board of director of The Kings Players in Hanford.
"Directors direct with patience and imagination; actors act with passion and dedication; technicians make magic with lights and sound; and the audience is enchanted and entertained," said Jim Kliegl, manager of the Lindsay Community Theater.
There is no age limit for any of these life-balancing activities and they are available to everyone. Jill Barnier, from the Encore Theatre Company in Tulare, said "Be aware of wonder. The wonder of volunteers, dedicated to keeping the joy and creativity of participatory theatre alive and strong...growing toward the future. Everyone is welcome."
Actors who present solo shows are often asked what it is like to do a performance on their own.
This writer once did a one-woman play, Rose, for the Visalia Community Players and learned that it is actually not possible to do a show alone. There is the director, leading actors to their best effort, lighting people illuminating them, and sound people who provide texture to the words. There are costumers, stage managers, and people in charge of props.
The audience shares their laughter, their tears, and their rapt attention. An actor is never truly alone on stage. She has shared what she has to give and appreciates that others can share as well. Visalia's Enchanted Playhouse Theatre Company presents family-friendly children's plays.
"The Enchanted Playhouse carefully selects productions to reach out to the most diverse audience, boys and girls, young and old, to provide an engaging and entertaining experience," said Don Williams, artistic director. "It also opens up exciting opportunities for all ages to become involved. Nothing is more gratifying than to see young people and their parents or grandparents performing side-by-side on stage."
When people share, they become part of a team. They cooperate, collaborate and work toward a common goal. From teenagers to octogenarians and beyond, they have each other's backs.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
Life is much richer when staring down something fearsome. To walk out on stage before an audience who will judge a performance or direct a play or create costumes and await the audience's response can be quite frightening.
People who play sports know that gripping fear. People who swing for the fence or kick for the goal or put themselves "out there" understand the rush and intense satisfaction that comes with conquering the fear.
It is so much nicer, however, if you've got someone to hold tight to your hand when you are scared. There is someone to share the stage with you, block the other team's play, laugh with you; a side-kick, a saddle-pal, an Ethel or a Rhoda.
Community theatres require legions of volunteers to keep the entertainment going. Whatever your unique skills, they can be utilized on-stage, back stage or in the front of the house. If you have the wisdom that comes with "a certain age," all the better.
If you sew a bit and think it might be fun to construct a pair of Regency breeches or a French bustle, these theatre companies need you. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be a Vietnam vet or a sleeping princess, a courtesan or even an Emperor who may or may not have new clothes, these companies offer you those experiences and more without the hazard of actually having to live them.
If you would like to sit in a dark room and weep for the frailty of humanity, or become better acquainted with Shakespeare without having to read the text, or if you'd like to laugh until your sides hurt, these companies will welcome you with open arms. Perhaps you would just like to volunteer in the box-office or serve refreshments. Your service would be valuable.
If you want to hold hands with someone, share an adventure or just live a more balanced life, here are many local groups who will welcome you.