Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Actual Magic

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, “Montana is my happy place.” It made me smile and nod … right on, man. Mine, too. But my fellow WW have written so evocatively (or will, in G Love’s case, I’m certain) of their happy places that are out-of-doors and/or related to nature and the seasons—I’m not going to repeat what they’ve said. I’ll just smile and nod … right on, man. Mine, too.

And yet. My hands-down happiest happy place is a theatre. Any theatre, any performance, anywhere. I prefer evening curtain times but I’ll take matinees, too, so let’s add “anytime.” Theatre is active, breathing, ephemeral art. It’s actual magic, being practiced right in front of you. In a theatre, you have permission for everything (except having your phone on): laughter, tears, breathlessness, longing, delight, heartbreak, anger, love, disappointment.

If you’re on stage, you are transported by your character’s needs and actions … you conjure with your humanness. If you’re backstage, you are transported by the rhythm and mechanics of what must be accomplished … you add to the incantations with your craft. If you’re in the audience, you are transported by the willing swan dive away from yourself and into the story … you complete the charm with your investment.

No matter what mood I’m in beforehand, the moment I step into a theatre, I’m on the cusp of happy. I know there will be magic worked around or with or through me and the anticipation of it is intoxicating. To be present for an honest-to-goodness spell—to be part of an honest-to-goodness spell—is simultaneously soothing and exhilarating and frightening.

Theatre is alive. Celebrating with something that’s alive … what’s happier than that?

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