It seems a lifetime ago when the movie theatres were still open – when you could take in a movie for $5 on a Tuesday – when you could escape to another place, time or fill a couple hours with adventure and action or love and romance. It also seems like forever when kids were auditioning for upcoming shows with their hearts longing for the lead role in their high school production. When art galleries were open to public view. When the fear of entering one of those places didn’t exist. A time when concerts were an every day occurrence and music was performing live right before our eyes. It seems like forever, but it’s only been . . . what is it now?
Since I was a little girl, the theatrical lived in my heart. I dreamt of being onstage dancing aside Shirley Temple. I wished I had the voice of Jane Powell or Kathryn Grayson. I could almost feel myself up on that screen acting with Marlon Brando or Gregory Peck.
Every Saturday, my dad would give me fifty cents and walk me to the local movie theatre. I can still smell the aroma of popcorn – the sounds of other kids as they fought over seats – each of us wanting to sit right in the middle to get the best view. There we would sit for the entire day – watching and re-watching the double feature, cartoons and new reels. There was something very magical about those days. I think it was during that time that I longed to be part of it all.
I eventually went on to be the neighborhood instigator of theatrical productions. I would write the script, cast the characters, make the costumes and sets and direct the whole thing. Of course I also had the starring role. My friends reluctantly joined in, because in those days we used our imaginations to create fun things to do. Eventually they learned to like doing plays as much as playing cowboys and Indians.
In the eighth grade, we were assigned the task of writing a play. I’m sure my teacher was talking about a one act play, but my creative juices were active and I took it on myself to write the most outstanding, glamorous, cast of a thousand or more play, which would rival anything written by Tennessee Williams with music by Irving Berlin. I’m sure my teacher flipped his wig when he saw my manuscript of fifty or more pages. I got a good grade. I was sure he never read it. He mentioned to me that it was way too epic for anything our class could possibly produce. I was crushed, but I still continued my love affair with theatre.
Here I am, approaching 78 years on this planet and that love is still thriving. Now that I’m required to stay at home, I have become a real couch potato. I’ve become a huge fan of TCM, the Turner Classic Movie Channel. I continue to watch the classics on TV along with some that I’ve never seen. I’ve seen some that make me wonder how they ever got on the screen and others that complete astound me.
In a way, I’m still enjoying the arts. My husband is an artist so I get to see new pieces each day. I don’t even have to leave the house. There’s something about sharing the arts with the masses that still lives in me. I’m looking forward to the day when we can do that again. Until then, I’ll make a package of microwave popcorn, grab a snuggly blanket and hit the couch.