Friday evening, with curls piled atop my head and my new thrift store dress, I journeyed to Newberg for an evening of theatre and friends. Katie and I went to a classy dinner at Taco Bell and caught up on the most recent comings and goings of our lives. One of the first people I met in college, we often share laughter, tears, movie-watching, picture-taking, and life-sharing experiences.
As we bustled from dinner, and up the stairs to Woodmar auditorium, a strange sensation came over me. This is the first play I’ve come to as a graduate. I’ve seen the costumes and set en-process, heard about the progress from my friends in and working on the show, but I wasn’t involved. I didn’t spend hours with the light board. No cussing out sewing machines or ERSs. No long rehearsals. No design meetings. No Rhett and Bryan looks. Today I come as the audience.
I believe very firmly in the power of story. How are we told of the creation of the world, the birth of our Savior, and countless tales of life, love and struggle? Story. It is the most powerful means of communication. With it you can move an audience, reader, and listener, draw them into a world, and approach the deepest questions of human hearts.
Ion is an ancient Greek story of gods, rape, family, barrenness, despair, worship, revenge, hope and redemption. I won’t give more away, I highly recommend you go see it.
I have often been asked, why do you do theatre? Believe it or not, it’s not for the performance, the applause, or the recognition. These things are nice, but sprinkles on the icing of a production. The cake, the heart of working on story in this form, is a series of moments. Brief glimpses into the beauty of community and art. They come unexpected, and leave sometimes before we can recognize their sacred nature. Those times when everything clicks. Excellence is reached. Suddenly the actors become the characters. The colors of the lights become the mood. The music lifts the story into a whirl of passionate grace. A director can tell you of these moments. Where the story becomes real.
I’m grateful to my friends who made Ion come alive: the cast who took on the burden of their characters, the designers who made the world a reality, the crew who worked in ways never seen to add perfection and gloss, the translator who spoke the play into our language, and the director who brought a bold vision to life.
May we always have courage to tell stories, but even more so, to live them.