This may be a very legitimate question.

Before television, communities not only banded together to bring community theaters to life, but fought, hard, in many communities, to keep them from dying early deaths. Community theater was a popular form of public entertainment, at least as popular as bear-baiting and public hangings.

These days, television tends to keep people at home. It’s so easy to stay at home. There are tons of entertainment to be had at home.

So, who is crazy enough to buck the trend and go out and  “do” community theater?

I have some ideas.

People who have seen live theater and have had an inexplicable, gut reaction to what they have seen on stage. People who have been taken out of the reality they were in and enjoyed the reality created before their eyes. People who have a certain creative talent that comes to life through carefully prepared words and actions, an enigmatic blend of the “extremely rehearsed” and the “never-been-done-before.”  People who are inexorably driven to exercise their creativity and become absolutely addicted to the teamwork, the comraderie, the stress and the sweat of doing theater.

Not just singers, dancers  and actors, but also designers, composers, directors, writers. Craftsmen who work in paint, light, fabric, sound, wood, metal, plastic. Young people who are moved by a good story. Adults who relate to a great character. People who enjoy a shared experience, as at a sporting event when everyone around you is cheering for the same team.

Since a play is life, concentrated, people who “do” theater are people who have the intestinal fortitude to swallow an hour and a half/two hours of concentrated life. Theater isn’t reality. Not even reality television is reality ((unedited, reality t.v. would be very,very boring).  Theater is reality times ten.

People who “do” theater know that there is a grace, a power, a depth of feeling,  a shared humanity that comes out in theater that is untapped by any other form of spectator activity.  Good theater, like good music,  moves people and people who “do” theater want to be movers.

Let’s explore together the who, what, why, when, and where of community theater, then get down to how to bring it to, and enliven it in, your community.

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