I have just returned from seeing “A Chorus Line” at the Community Arts Center. I have been looking forward to this night for a month. Williamsport has a lot of theater for a city its size, but I still only get a chance to see a musical or a play every once in a blue moon. You certainly can’t go to the theater every night in Williamsport.
The Community Arts Center is an impressive theater. It is larger than some Broadway theaters and about as grand as a theater can be. Unfortunately I don’t go there often because they program the worst dreck they can find. Maybe this is actually typical of what is offered in any regional commercial theater, but I can’t see paying $40.00 for something I won’t like. But “A Chorus Line” is definitely worth seeing because I’ve been exploring Broadway on my trips to New York City.
I could barely pay attention to the show because I fell to brooding during the entire performance. All during the show, I thought about the one act play I recently submitted to the Pittsburgh New Works Festival. I can’t tell you too much about that play because it is suppose to be anonymous for the judging process. Therefore I cannot put anything on the Internet to tie me to the script. But my play wrestled with some the same issues that are explored in “A Chorus Line” so I began to brood about that.
I struggled to get into playwriting back in 1995 but eventually got discouraged and gave it up. I decided it wasn’t worth it. But sometimes you avoid one form of tragedy only to suffer another form of tragedy. I did not completely forget the theater. Once I began to travel I always researched the theaters in the cities I planned to visit. I would locate these theaters and take a photo (mostly because theaters neglect to put any decent photos of the building on their web sites). And when possible, I would see a play in a theater in the big city. That really requires an overnight trip so I can’t do that often.
I have stifled my genius because I could not bear to yearn for the theater too deeply. That was too painful for me. But if the theater speaks to your soul it will eat at you to abandon it. This is expressed beautifully in “A Chorus Line” so it made me really sad to watch the drama unfold. Fortunately, I think that if the theater speaks to your soul that powerfully then it is resonating with some greatness within you. At the end of “A Chorus Line” the dancers come out in their dazzling, glittering costumes and the audience goes wild. I thought to myself, “You fools. That is just fake sparkle and a little song and dance. I could show you so much more than that. Give me your stage. Give me your stage and I will astonish you!”