Why be in this play? (it’s the gasp) by Lisa Lias

Why be in this play?

It seems like a silly question in the wake of what has been such a successful run. But here’s the thing: While we all love what we do, three of us have young children. When young children wake up early in the morning, they don’t care that you were knocking yourself out onstage and then driving home the night before. Most of the cast has day jobs. Their employers are equally unconcerned by the demands theater puts on a person.

I don’t even want to talk about how hard the crew works, both day and night.

The point is, none of us being brand new to theater, the play matters. We have to want to show up and do it every night. And we do.

For me, the “why?” has a few components. First of all, like Ashley, Keith, Misty, Cheryl and Katie, I’ve been with Constellation since the beginning. So of course if Allison offers me a chance to do The Show with The Pool, I want to do it. But that’s ego, and ego doesn’t get my son to school in the morning when all I want to do is sleep. So next is the people. One of Allison’s strengths as Artistic Director is her ability to select the people who join the Associate Artists for each show. Atkinson said no love-fest blog posts, but the fact is this is a good team. If the posts Ashley and I wrote about what it’s like backstage conveyed anything, they should have conveyed how it just couldn’t be done without real teamwork among the cast and crew.

This brings me to the play. It wasn’t love at first read for me. I thought it was theatrical, solid and poignant, but reading it isn’t the same as doing/seeing it. I didn’t gasp out loud when I read the end, but audiences often do when we blow the candles out. That’s worth it right there. To hear an audience actually gasp. That doesn’t happen in every play. And as you soak in this material in rehearsal and now, performance, the power of myth sneaks up on you.  Myths tend to have simple story lines. Someone gets an idea in their head and it doesn’t turn out the way they thought it would. A man wants to turn things into gold, go on a journey, cut a tree down, get his wife back…the things people want seem understandable, and yet there’s always a catch. And it’s gotten to the point that I don’t feel so different from these mythical people. Maybe that’s what I’m getting at. Doing this play has made me think about what I wish for. I mean, I wish I got more sleep. But if I did, I wouldn’t get to hear that gasp every night.


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