Lesson 33

When you book time away, things inevitably come up that you wish you were in town for.
So, despite the audition notices I’d be jumping to submit myself for, that I can’t because I won’t be in the country at shooting/rehearsing/performing times, I’m trying to cram as much other stuff in now.
While I can.
Before missing out on three weeks’ worth of London life.

This week alone, I am living life to its fullest.
On Monday night, I went to the ballet with Bega Baby.
It was a Shakespearean Triple Bill and it was something new and interesting to watch.
It wasn’t the best thing that either of us had ever seen, but I’m a big believer in appreciating the things you don’t enjoy as much as those that you do – after all, how are we ever to form an artistic opinion if we just love everything that we see?
Since then, I’ve had the last two nights off to be all Jew-y
But now?
It’s time for Music Theatre appreciation!

I’m about to see five musicals in four days and I’m VERY excited!

In Lesson 26, I did confess (not that it was much of a shock to anyone who knows me) about my love for this form of performance.
Anyone who has been in the unfortunate position of having to scroll through my iTunes library will tell you that the percentage of musicals in my collection is probably around 80% – considering that this figure used to be closer to 95%, I’m pretty impressed with my growing tastes! – and so, my theatre dates for the rest of the week are in the plural form (i.e. dates rather than date)

What’s exciting me most about this week’s shows is that I have never seen any of them before.
Of the five that I’m seeing, I do know three.
That is, I have their soundtracks in my music collection, but I’ve never seen live performances of them – so there was no way I was missing the opportunity to see them now!
The other two are new musicals.
And that is exciting to me in its own way – there could be two new musicals to add to my listening library by the end of the week!

The thing is, whether I was seeing nothing but musicals, dance or straight theatre for the whole week, I’d be happy.
I love sitting in a darkened theatre with nothing but a blank stage and joyful anticipation of what may come for the next hour or three.
And I love watching someone else’s imagination unfurl in front of me.
Brought to life by countless other imaginations and talents.

Lesson 33

When I was in year 12 (the Aussie equivalent of your A-Levels, UK friends), my Theatre Studies classmates and I went on an excursion to the Arts Centre to see a play.
We got the tram into town from school.
It was a route I knew well – and a venue I knew even better, having a fortunate upbringing led by two parents who’ve always appreciated and supported the Arts, despite neither working in the industry themselves.
As my peers were enjoying teasing the determined walk of a girl who knew where she was going and knew that she needed to get to the theatre in time to buy her programme, one particular (still performing) classmate piped up with a David Attenborough impersonation:

“And if we look very closely, we can see a Natasha Jacobs entering her natural habitat.”

It was funny because it was true.
Theatres are my happy places.

At about that same time in my life, I thought I was incapable of seeing theatre I didn’t enjoy.
There was one week in particular that I remember, when I’d seen three very different plays at three very different theatres and had loved them all.
Surely I was discerning enough to know when something wasn’t great?
Why did I love everything?
Surely there was something to be critical about in one of these three?
How could I be an artist of any integrity if I loved everything?
I was having a personal crisis.

I look back on that time and laugh.
I think back to recent rants of mine and old rants of mine and unpublished rants of mine and I laugh.
I feel like my sensibilities have, in some ways, flipped.
It feels rarer to see a show that I lovei.e. can find no faults worth deconstructing – than one I don’t.
But, as I said, in spite of all that, I still can’t think of anywhere that makes me happier.
A theatre.
Performing in one or being an audience member in one.
That cocoon of magic is all that I need to soothe my soul.

As I’m coming back into the real world after my day and a half of quiet reflection, I think this is the best way to align myself.
Experiencing wonder and delight in a room full of other people.

The thing about live performance – yes, film and TV do this too, but in a slightly different way – is that everyone takes their own lessons/thoughts/ideas home at the end.
No matter how many times I see “Death of a Salesman”, I find something new in it that speak to me, and speaks to my life.
But you, despite seeing the same play, the same production of said play, will find something else in the piece that may speak to you.
That is magic.
It’s real, but it’s magic.
And that is why the theatre is addictive.
Is beautiful.
Is my home.

I am what I am – and what I am is a theatre lover.
I need it to survive.
You may need football.
Or swing dancing.
Or hiking.
Whatever it is that you need, find it.
Own it.
And love it.




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