Monday, August 23, 2010

Finding the Magic

Elsewhere on the internet, Lorna and I were talking about musicals.

Somewhere along the discussion, I went from joking that I can't admit I like musical theatre in my social circle of professional actors and employees past and present of Florida Stage, to developing a manifesto on what I want from musical theatre.

I want from musical theatre what I want from any theatrical experience: magic.

I want to be transformed.

Transformation doesn't have to be gigantic in terms of scale. One of my most transformative theatrical experiences was a tiny production of The Cherry Orchard, where you could see the zippers in the back of the actors' costumes.

Too often we forget about the magic. The way that a show can make us cry, gasp, laugh, dream, change. We as theatre practitioners get bogged down in the practicalities: how much does it cost? Where can we find an audience? Will this offend our subscribers?

And the practicalities are something we should be aware of -- no theatre should go broke in search of the perfect artistic vision.

Outside of the 2amt community, I don't hear most theatre people talk about the magic. (And even in the 2amt community, we often talk about the practicalities.)

I wonder if as creators of magic, we're empty. I often feel spiritually empty and that the magic well has run dry. Some days it is a chore simply to go out and see theatre.

If I think about those magical theatrical experiences, where the light and delight of storytelling came through, I find myself better able to go back to my job. Better able to go back to my keyboard and work on another scene.

How can we find that source of spiritual renewal in ourselves so that we can bring it to our work? What can we do together to find the magic again?


  1. Andie,
    At Flux, we often talk about our work as Theatre of Transformation; but we've struggled with defining what exactly that means even as we gravitate irrevocably towards it. Though I suppose an indefinable definition suits a place for magic...

  2. Personally, I find ritual useful. I use the same basic set of rituals for many tasks, with some specific rituals for individual endeavors, including and especially writing sermons (storytelling's nerdy cousin). This grounds me and--sometimes, blessedly--opens me to new insight and new magic, to share with the congregation