Tonight, my wife and I will sit down to watch the Tony Awards, a tradition we have kept since our wedding twelve years ago. In fact, we love the theatre so much that our wedding was Broadway-themed, with selected numbers from various musicals and a Playbill for a program.
Growing up in SoCal, I did not see many plays, instead choosing to spend more time in the cinema. But there is something special about live theatre. My emotions get caught up in the moment, and I forget that I am surrounded by scores of other people watching the same action, listening to the same dialogue. Together we are sharing an experience that has the power to transform us and to make us think.
Sure, there are productions that simply make us laugh–“Spamalot” and “The Producers” come immediately to mind. Yet there are many more that move us in a way to think about our own actions and interactions with those around us– “The Clean House” and “Good People” are two examples of many. When a play can affect the audience in such a way, there is potential that it can impact entire communities.
The theatre is doing that right now, and not just on Broadway or London’s West End or even at the local repertory theatre. The theatre is helping to instill peace in places like Rwanda and helping to see difficult issues in a different light in Europe.
Theatre is an avenue toward peace and a medium for dealing with social justice issues. Don’t get caught up in the celebrity; some of the best plays I’ve seen were in the smallest of theatres with local actors. I am thankful that I have been able to see some amazing plays, and even more excited about what has not yet been written or acted but perhaps helps to bring peace to a country at war or to two friends not speaking to one another.