Gratitude Sunday: The Theatre, The Theatre

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Gray, gray, gray. Drizzle.
Sun? Brief clear spot raining leaves
instead of water.

Sunday Musings
Acknowledgment has such fine value in this human physical life. Each of us has this need to know we count. Me. I made a contribution in some way.

No, this isn’t about me. I know my complainer is stuck on whine. Complaining is how I define what I think needs to be fixed. I often tell the hubster his middle name should be “Neverhappy”. Pot calling the kettle black, I guess. With all my gratitude studies I’m still looking for the “Always Happy” reset button. My studies have revealed the need to let it all (needs, desires) go and be here now, in the moment.

Therefore, today we shall have a small lecture in theater etiquette.

Did you enjoy the play? Did you have a great experience with that live performance, men, women, and children willing to get up on a stage and pretend to be someone else for your entertainment? Did you have fun watching them take you away from your everyday cares and worries for a brief moment of time?

I love theatre, but acting, live theatre, movies, and making other people watch you dancing and singing is a little bit creepy, really. People are willing to assume personas not their own to entertain you for a fee. Spectators voyeuristically smile and nod as the performers make you suspend your disbelief. An alternate reality is occurring in front of your very eyes and in real time.

BUT I LOVE IT. I love it all, live theatre, movies, watching, assisting. I’ve been lucky to work behind the scenes in producing theatre and film and seen lots of local amateur theatre in several communities. I’ll go to theatre by myself when the hubster won’t go with.

When the son was small, five years old maybe, he saw me putting on pantyhose and a dress. Then I put on my fur coat against the cold night’s walk to the theatre. Perhaps he’d never seen me wear a dress before because he said, “Are you playing dress-up, Mommy?” Hwell. Yes. Yes, I was. I had to look the part of a theatre-goer. I prepared to attend the night’s entertainment. Many people worked to bring this play to fruition for my entertainment and I would honor them by looking properly appreciative. By the age of six the son was the youngest volunteer ever at our local theatre helping his dad in the light booth.

Now, I don’t care what you wear to the theater. But you need to know it took many hours of preparation by a whole crew of people, some of whom are completely invisible. We get to see the actors and sometimes the musicians; we might even greet the director in the theatre lobby. Rarely do we see the light designer, or the light hanger who crawls around the rafters doing what the designer says, or the light technician, who sits behind the light board during every rehearsal, rehearsing right along with the actors so by the time we see the play the lighting movements are seamlessly timed to the action on stage. Same with the sound techs; or the propmaster, the costume designer, the hair and make-up artists, and wardrobe master/mistress; or the set designers and builders. Without the support crew the play would not take place.

You enjoyed the play and the actors are on-stage for their curtain call. Ever notice how, at one point after the actors have taken their bows in order of prominence in the play, the whole cast will throw theirs arms out raising them toward the ceiling? To the audience it looks as if the actors are acknowledging the audience. The audience always claps louder. If you pay attention, the actors then usually throw their arms out toward the audience, a much lower salute than the first one. And the audience claps that much louder.

Nota bene: the first salute with the arms raised toward the ceiling is pointed toward the light booth, where the other action for your senses takes place during the play, the technicians who produce that sense of light and sound and at the right frequencies and decibels for your viewing and hearing pleasure.

Here’s your Theatre Etiquette Lesson: when the actors raise their arms toward the light booth, turn in your seat and clap toward the light/sound booth. Let the technicians know you appreciated their work also. This information is shared in any Drama/Theatre 101 class and needs repeating for public use.

The second salute is, indeed, toward the audience and this is when you should stand if you haven’t already done so and clap louder. You should do this whether you enjoyed the play or not, out of respect. You are honoring the effort and commitment it took to create this moment in time.

Now go. Go on out that door and support live theatre. And remember your theatre etiquette lesson care of Sassy Kas and clap for the supporting crew and their moment.

Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – a little study in yellow. I took these shots two and three days ago; today the trees are naked.

Currently Reading – The Stud Book (fiction) by Monica Drake; Barbecued Husbands and Other Stories from the Amazon (traditional Brazilian rain forest tribal stories) by Betty Mindlin and indigenous storytellers; Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown (global economics) by David Wiedemer and Robert A Wiedemer; Hanging Out the Wash: And Other Ways to Find More in Less (simplifying life) by Adair Lara; How to See Yourself as You Really Are (enlightenment) by the Dalai Lama. Yes, concurrently.

Winter Classic Reading rules:
1. You must never have read the book before.
2. The book must be recognized as a classic, and can be contemporary.
* Extra points if you’ve never read the author before, if the author is female, or if the title or author have won a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.

Winter Classic Reading choices as of today:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; I’ve never read this author.
The Stranger by Albert Camus; I’ve never read this author.
So Big by Edna Ferber; I’ve never read this author.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne; I’ve read House of the Seven Gables.
Something by Anthony Trollope, suggested by the co-worker; neither of us have read this author.

Can you suggest any others? Do you want to read a winter classic you’ve never read before? We’ll decide by the winter solstice. Or maybe I’ll decide, I haven’t decided yet if I want to be the decider since it’s my tradition or if I want to share.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Live poetry reading (Argentinian poet Lorraine Healy) and the clear evening walk to and from the venue.
  • Live musical theatre and the clear evening walk to and from the theatre.
  • Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein, and humor.
  • DSCN1637

  • Halloween and storytelling and talismans to ward off evil.
  • A short day at the beach. It’s still there.
  • Having the time to watch a warm little breeze loosen the leaves and create a yellow leafstorm.
  • Watching the red, orange, green, and yellow leaves turn to brown as the trees become more naked.
  • Reconnecting with past acquaintances who found me through this blog.
  • One last quiet day of vacation before going back to work.
  • Working on a “Why I Need to Retire” list.
  • Time.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

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