On my Tray of Bliss today is a ticket to a local theatre production.
Not just any theatre production, but one featuring my daughter.
Now you'll notice the byline of my blog is 'creating a parsomoniously plentiful, posh and polished life'. I believe attending the theatre is one of the great lost 'posh' arts. It can be done in a parsimonious fashion and certainly makes our life feel more abundant, fulfilled and polished. We adore theatre in any form and it's something we put money aside to attend. But I'm about to tell you how to see all the great shows (albeit on a smaller scale) for FREE. That's right. Nil cost. Psst...I think this is where the 'snobbery' comes in. I find that unless the theatre ticket carries an appropriately exorbitant price tag, it's often not considered worth 'seeing'. We have found this to be patently untrue on a grand scale. One particular instance was when we attended a performance of The Wiz (a modern updated version of The Wizard of Oz) AND The Wizard of Oz, two weeks apart. The Wiz was staged by a community based theatre company, and The Wizard of Oz by the big guns. You know, national tour, big names, fancy schmacy sets. Well, that was 8 years ago. Which one do you think stands out in all our memories? Hint...it ain't the big flashy one. To this day, that performance of The Wiz is the benchmark by which we measure all other productions. The only one that's come close is Wicked, but that's a whole other story...well, figuratively speaking!
There is a wealth of talent in any city, large or small, and we love the thrill of seeing budding young actors bring characters that we know and love, to life. We dress up and make a real occasion of it, as befits the hard work put in by the many front and back of house volunteers that pull a theatrical production together.
The Diva has been dancing and singing for nigh on eight years, but this is her first foray into the world of acting.
Now I say that blithely, because in truth, she's been theatrical her entire life...hence her Nom de Plume.
But of course, this is acting in its' purest form. Many times I've read that famous actors return to tread the boards in Broadway or West End to remind themselves of what the craft of acting is all about.
Of course, at this level, we're really just talking about reciting the script expressively...there is very little of the craft of acting involved.
The surprising thing for me is the amount of 'industry snobbery' I've encountered over this little foray. This is a long standing theatre, a grand old Dame of our city. She's 75 years old and the theatre itself is an icon. It's well respected, viewed on a par with the so called Professional theatres, and attracts a loyal fan base.
But Divas' dance school are up in arms (they're very particular), in case the 'production' is not of the standard favoured by them for their students. I can't seem to make them see that this is not a clash with what they offer our Diva, but rather another string to her creative bow. All they can see is that it's not Professional (their capitals, not mine).
We are not being 'tolerated' as long as the Theatre does not interfere with her commitment to Dance. It's a jolly shame as they've taken no joy in her role and have not announced it to the dance school at large. It's very much hush-hush. Poor little Diva still had to audition..the part was not simply handed to her. At the tender age of 11, she had to sing a solo (Reflection from the Disney movie Mulan), learn a dance in 5 minutes and perform it, and do a cold reading from the Script. She actually read for three parts. So no mean feat!
I gotta say....HUH???????
The Diva is having a blast. We are too. She is meeting people and learning things in Theatre that she would never learn at Dance classes. How to take direction, respect older members of the cast, take responsibility, and not forgetting of course the old adage 'the show must go on'. For us, we find ourselves exploring the local restaurants near the theatre, and indulging in some Mum and Dad time. A whole two hours twice a week. It's like dating again.
What is it with 'industry' folk that they look down their noses at local theatre, the true lifeblood and cultural heart and soul of any city?
I say phooey, pip-pip and cheerio to them.
Do you support your local theatre group? Almost every town or city has one in some form, if not several. It's much more fun than the movies and often costs the same or less. It gives your family a whole new entertainment option. What would you rather they remembered when they're older? That you all sat at home watching DVDs, or that you got out and about and supported the Arts.
The other positive is that your family may be inspired enough by attending Theatre to get involved. Most community theatre groups are always on the lookout for talent. And not just front of house. They need ushers, musicians, technical people, IT people, bar staff or coffee shop and kiosk staff, office and admin staff, make-up artists, set designers and construction people, stage managers, PR people, graphic designers, costume designers and seamstresses. I bet they'll welcome you with open arms. Best thing? It's all free! Imagine going to ALL the new productions, supporting the arts, giving your family the opportunity to tread the boards, and learn a wonderful new, self esteem building skill!
Go soon, and support the theatres in your area. You won't be sorry!
What's on your Tray of Bliss today?