Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Smell of the Crowd, The Roar of the Greasepaint

I'm not going to lie; I love being in the theatre department. I do.

I realized this, anew, today. I was walking through the performance space that's currently being used for "Pirates of Penzance," and I happened to see a large, eerie, red being with claws and netting and a fierce scowl.

We call him Lucifer and he is a gigantic puppet that usually hangs on the ceiling, reaching out his fearsome claws and glowering menacingly down on the scene shop, which is where we build the sets and props. (And by "we," I do mean "we"--I'm mean with a jigsaw--though the rest of the department may be meaner.) We're doing "A Christmas Carol" and my dear friend Meg is playing The Ghost of Christmas Future and is constructing a large, eerie puppet ostensibly similar to Lucifer. She has been walking around with Lucifer for practice. Right now, Lucifer is discarded backstage, stretched along the back wall so as not to get in the way of the Pirates.

And I just thought to myself, as I gazed upon this enigma, this paper, clawed puppet stretched along the wall as if in the middle of dying, "I go to school with a gigantic puppet named Lucifer."

The thought made me smile. I go to school for fantasy, for adventures too exciting to be really real. I go to school for the pirates, for the larger-than-life paper mache demons, for the pie shops and the turntables--all magical stage machinations which never work. I go to school for the happy endings and the tearjerkers.

I go to a school that is proud of gigantic puppets, that puts puppets on display.

I love theatre because you can watch your friends and foes put on just a bit of crepe hair and latex and become a different person.

I love it because I am interested in things that happen. I like action. Drama is action. Lots of action.

I love theatre because I love the sound of words. I love the combination of good vocabulary and good resonance.

I go to this school because we will spend thousands of dollars for paint for a show that runs for four performances.

I go to this school because it's full of people who put their heart and soul into every stroke they paint or every stitch they sew. We make mistakes--but it is because we are consistently challenged by the guidance of the faculty, who intentionally give us responsibilities that are uncomfortably large, in hopes that our characters will grow to fit them.

No comments: