Saturday, July 1, 2017

Theater: As Large As Life

Last evening I attended a performance of "Johnny Johnson," a World War One operetta performed by The Chicago Folks Opera Company. I knew four of the twelve-member cast. The opera was well sung and well acted. It dealt with the naivete of one Johnny Johnson and his belief that the war could be stopped because no one really wanted it except the officials who were running it.

On the way home as I reveled in the post show emotions, as I usually do, I said to myself, "The reason I so enjoy theater is that it is at least as large as life ... and sometimes larger." Having said that, I had to think about what I meant and why I felt this way.

Really good theater; whether opera, musical, or drama; recreates life in ways that life cannot recreate itself. This is true for mediocre theater as well if only to a lesser degree.

First of all it begins at the same time each night and ends at the same time. If someone falls ill, if someone dies, if someone is cured ... same time each night. The lines are mostly the same and delivered mosly with the same emotions. Not subject to chance!

If there is a problem to be solved, it is always solved and done so in a predictible way. If there is a clamity to be had, it is had and then it is over, predictibly. If there are complications, the complications are solved or not, but either way ... predicitbly. If there is joy to be celebrated, celebrated it will be.

The past remains the past, the present remains the present, and the future remains the future. There is no crossover, there is no overlap, there is no being able to correct next time what you did or didn't do. There are for the most part no second chances, unless they are written in ... therefore they remain what they remain.

Unlike real life, for the most part there is permanence. Things that are not meant to change, do not change. Things that are written to change, do change. No need to worry, pre-occupy, fret, feel guilty or wonder if things would have turned out differently if you had behaved differently.

Finally, no matter how painful the emotions, you will get through them. You will live to see another day and you will go on ... maybe changed a little bit yourself because of having experienced life larger than life!

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