A Fly On The Wall, September 6, 2013
Theatre of Life
by Jim Murchison
I think what appeals to me most about the theatre is the immediacy and the intimacy of the experience. As much as I enjoy finding rare clips of performers while cruising YouTube, these are generally music, comedy and film stars that although they may have performed live were often recorded.
There is far less recorded theatrical performance. Usually they are specifically selected productions only kept for archive purposes, but the majority of performances no recording is even permitted, so when those amazing moments or spectacular accidents occur only those that were in the theatre at that moment in time experience it.
The performances that they have done are memories seen by a handful of people and their flashes of brilliance or failure are now only related in folklore. As the backstage stories get retold they may be embellished or exaggerated as memories play tricks and showmanship embellishes an already funny or tragic recollection.
When I meet people that I worked with long ago they have memories that I may recall as well or that I have possibly forgotten that trigger a related story. It happened recently when I reunited with Craig Walker who had been in the final resident company at the NAC under John Wood in 1984. We had so many memories of that year in our lives. Even the things that were trying or difficult at the time were pretty good memories now.
Painters, writers, film actors and musicians may be discovered after their time. Stage actors and crew have only this moment to make an impression and after that it's gone. After that it is only the memories and the stories that keep it alive. Story telling is what keeps families close and generations connected and what makes us human. For all the things that technology has done for us that help us communicate and share experiences there is nothing that will ever replace people looking into each others eyes and talking, laughing and crying and sometimes arguing. It is not just what theatre is about it's what life should always be about.
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