Kristen Coury is Gulfshore Playhouse’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director. She will be blogging on Saturdays throughout the 2014-2015 Season.
I use this name for two reasons: first, put together into one word, ThinkTheatre, it is the name of our stellar in-school education program run so well under the watchful eye of Leah Shaeffer, our Director of Education. Second, it is what I would like you, our reader, and, in fact, all beings on the planet, to do!
I sometimes joke with our audiences that they are coming into a dark room, gathering with strangers and turning off their phones…and how often does THAT happen? I say it as a joke, and they laugh. But it’s the truth. How often do you get the chance to come into a room, gather with other humans, separate yourself from your electronics, and focus fully on one thing, which, in this case, is other humans performing for you in front of your eyes. The truth is: theatre is becoming a commodity.
When I look up the definition of commodity, it is this: a valuable or useful thing, such as water or time.
Yes, I believe that theatre is a commodity as important as water and time. In this fast-paced world we live in (and does anyone else think it’s just getting faster?) I believe the ability to become quiet and reflective is becoming harder to do. With national attendance percentages going down at our religious establishments, where else are we able to go to become still and quiet, and explore our own prejudices, feelings, thoughts, and dreams? Stories can engage, inspire, challenge, and unite us. Stories brought to life on stage in front of your eyes can do that and more. They can teach you things about yourselves you might never have realized, and teach you things about others that may alter the way you are in the world going forward.
We can learn about our society, social norms and changing trends. No wonder historians look to plays to find out what life was like in a certain era. We can do that too: reveling in gorgeous costumes, hilarious situations, and political conflicts of days gone by, we can learn what their lives were like and compare them to our lives today. And be changed. Plays dig deeply into the issues, values and questions of the day and invite you to delve along with them. This is not mere entertainment, this is food for the soul.
So, I ask you all, when given the chance: Think Theatre. Give it a shot. Come to a play. You’ll be glad you did.