“Acting is the most personal of our crafts. The make-up of a human being – his physical, mental and emotional habits – influence his acting to a much greater extent than commonly recognized.” Lee Strasberg
I can’t remember how many opening nights I’ve participated in, but each one gives an actor a sort of rush which is really unexplainable. I guess it started when I was just a small child. We’d pin a couple of sheets to the clothes line, make some popcorn, send out invitations to the neighborhood and dress in silly clothes. We did some sort of play, skit or standup routine – whatever was the fare of the day. The attention of an audience, no matter how big or small creates an energy that bounces from actor to observers and back to actors. It has a rhythm all its own. It excites, causes some pangs of fear and creates an immediate response.
Those feelings carried over into my high school years and the beckoning call of the theatre has been like unto an addiction of sorts. For within that art, we can become someone unrecognizable from ourselves for a couple hours. We put on a mask, draw on our own emotions and thought process and bring a character to life all in one fell swoop.
As my life pressed on this art has been a great part of my life. I’ve written hundreds of plays and skits. I’ve sewn countless costumes. I’ve directed and taught children and adults the art of acting. I can lay claim to being a performer, but as the years pass, the abilities change. Our minds don’t retain as much as they used to. Our bodies are restricted somewhat because of arthritis, bursitis, inflammation and other assorted maladies, but still the roar of the crowd calls. Once you’ve experienced an opening night, you’ll never be the same.
Someone once said that what we do as an occupation, usually pertains to something you loved doing as a child. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but for me, it’s a part of me Those early “shows” didn’t emote great acting. Instead there were missed cues, lost lines, embarrassing but funny moments that went with the flow and for some it became a passion. Every show has some sort of adventure waiting for you.
So tonight he lights will come up, the action will begin and sooner than we hope for it will be over, leaving a part of each individual involved with a sense of accomplishment.