I've never been in a play. Even though some of those aptitude tests I took in high school suggested I might be good at acting, I've never done it. I can't memorize things, I'm terrified in front of groups of more than two. I've never mastered eyeliner. I have every good reason in the world for not acting. So I'm not going to.
But Duane often acts and/or sings in Ole Olsen, the local theatre group. I read lines with him, tell him he's wonderful (he is), and eat well and chug a little wine with friends at the dinner theatre performance. It's fun and exhilarating. But no, I'm not acting.
Stage plays, I've decided, are the externalization of books. TV and movies--at least to me--are not. While I enjoy movies and, very occasionally, TV, I more than enjoy the stage. I feel it. It is supposed to very hot in Philadelphia in 1776. The men on the stage were fanning themselves, mopping their faces. I got hot, too. I was alone and trying to be quiet in the nearly deserted auditorium, but I laughed out loud at the funny parts and the songs and then slunk down into my seat so no one would see me. There was an emotional scene where I was brought nearly to tears.
It was magic.
This was a rehearsal. In bookish terms, it was probably a second draft. There were some errors, some forgettings, some laughter in the wrong spots. I think maybe a person or two wasn't there. Another person or two missed cue lines. But it was still magic.
On opening night, it will be the final draft, the one the editor sends you when your story's all clean and perfect and formatted and maybe sometimes you'll cry over it. And you'll feel it right down to your very bones.
I've always come down on the side of books in the "which is better, books or movies?" question. Always. No matter how much I love or how often I watch Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. It might be a little harder for me to answer that question if it was "which is better, books or screenplays?" because a stage play makes me feel things as intensely as reading a book. Almost as intensely as writing one.
But I'm still not acting.
Break a leg, cast of 1776, and thanks for sharing your art.