A thespian’s tale of theatre in today’s world
Where has our culture gone? Why do we ceaselessly pour through endless online photos and quizzes aimed at passing time and helping procrastinate on that project due tomorrow? Our lives are flying by at lightspeed and we could care less so long as we have our mind numbing computer screens to hide behind. These empty comments on social media leave us in a false sense of accomplishment. I ask you however, when was the last time you felt raw emotion in the flesh? No not watching a sop story on Netflix but a real untouched, unedited, emotion cause by human to human interaction. When was the last time you went to the theatre?.
How could theater, especially theater in Antigonish really matter in a world as fraught and divergent as ours? Not to sound overly grand, but so much of the toxicity in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy. We don’t understand each other, and we don’t want to. But theater invites us, no, forces us to empathize. Theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from other people’s actions. We practice caring.
I have been very fortunate to have graced many a stage in my young life so far. I have played many a role where such empathy can be found, yet when coming to X I was sad to see that the productions put on have been rather dated. These last two years we have had rather depressing shows grace our lovely theatre and nothing has really jumped at me to attend or audition. It wasn’t until Slut: The Play that my ears perked up. The show lead by Laura Pichette was the modern lift Theatre Antigonish needed. Something relevant and powerful that spoke to today’s generation. I am not opposed to the classics, I have been fortunate enough to sing in shows like My Fair Lady, Les Mis, Phantom, and Jesus Christ Superstar to name a few. I am not here to parade my accomplishments around and step on the hardworking toes of those who volunteer their time. We can go farther as a community if we have show’s that speak to our generations problems. Slut was a revelation as it spoke to us the students.
Mental illness has been a big topic on campus recently. Shows like Next to Normal or Spring Awakening with their beautifully simplistic music and powerful lyrics would draw the attention of a greater volume of students, especially if executed properly.
I care about theatre. Theatre makes up a lot of my life, be it listening to cast recordings or reading into a multilayered character that I will be playing in the future. Theatre brings people together in a way that no other genre of entertainment can. It can hit all of the emotional strings of a wedding, a funeral, and a birthday party, all in one hour and a half show. So I would ask that you turn off your phone for an hour or two and go see a show. Let’s learn to feel again.