Letter from Lena

Letter from Lena

"To be" 

  

Gazing up the beautiful ceiling of The Lyceum. That should have been me. 

Lights slowly being turned off. I should have seen that. 

Sitting there marvelling, eagerly waiting for the moment when I can finally applaud all of us with full dedication. That should have been me. 

Giving the theatre everything I am. That will be me again after this. 

'Cause nothing could make me forget the beauty of theatre. Not even a pandemic. 

  

Theatre isn't only a job for an actor and entertainment for the audience. If it was, theatre would stand for separation throughout the whole performance. It would mean that we aren't one. Of course, physically there is the minor separation between stage and seats but live performance knows very well how to overcome this. We are in the same room in the very same moment, physically and emotionally. I see you. You see me. We share everything. Still ourselves - but one. It is more than a job and not only entertainment. As soon as the lights turn off, we step into a world where nothing is impossible. The actors wipe out everything they are for as long as they are conveying the author's characters. And the audience does the same. They stop thinking about chores, fights, self doubts. All of us have to make an unbelievable amount of decisions all day long. We are responsible for every one of them. We worry about their outcomes, about missing out, about changes, about losing. But as soon as we enter the world of theatre together, we leave this behind. Everything we normally are and portray becomes insignificant. Only for as long as the performance lasts but long enough to calm down and forget - together. 

What we've got left in the auditorium are strangers drawn into the same world simultaneously. To be a part of this evanescent unity, to step out of their bodies, to feel, to fall, to live through someone else. 

Don't get me wrong, movies can do the same magic with actors and audience. But there is this wall between them that only theatre can break apart. Because again: I see you. You see me. We share everything. We become one in this brief moment. There is no time difference between the actor's and the audience's experience. I feel everything the actor feels. We laugh, cry, love, hate. We face ups and downs together. An exceptional unity created in one little theatre. 

And even though one of my favourite parts - the applause - tends to build up the wall again between actors and audience, we've all been there. Together. As our rarest selves, just for a few breaths. Forgetting every role we play in our day-to-day lives. Actors as much as audience. And this can not be taken from us again. There always is only one take in theatre so what we share that night in the hall will forever be unique. We will be strangers, connected through having shared an inimitable journey. 

  

Oh how much I want to forget everything I am just about now. To be whoever I want to be in this theatre. To be filled with someone else's thoughts, words, actions, just for a short moment of my day. To dive deep into a world that isn't mine, maybe a body or even a brain that doesn't belong to me, that isn't controlled by me. To feel the connection. To be one with every stranger around me. To let loose for many heartbeats, then round it up with some applause. To eventually come back to me. Enriched, inspired, connected, calm. 

There will be a time where this will be possible again. But I guess for now, I'll have to continue gazing up my boring white ceiling (... maybe I should paint it?), turning off the lights myself and applauding my TV. 

 

Lena Vogt

Tags: From Audience