The other day I was at a dinner party for a local theatre company that has performed a couple of my pieces. When introduced as a playwright, various people asked what I had written, and it was of course great fun to hear people exclaim “Oh, you wrote that?”
But it’s not the (admittedly gratifying) ego boost that meant the most. In two cases, there was something else at play. One woman told me that she had mentioned the show to her friends because she felt the topic of the play was important. This dialog with the community is one of the things that drew me to theatre. It’s not passive, it’s a conversation.
The other case was a delightful surprise. “Oh, I fell in love with my boyfriend because of your show!”, a woman exclaimed. She was, she admitted, in love with him before seeing the play, but the gentleman in question was an actor in the play, and it brought out something in him that she hadn’t seen much of before. “I always thought he was so serious,” she said, “but then I saw him being silly and having fun…”.
What a treat to have two people bonding over something you created. It’s more than a dialog, it’s reaching across the stage to connect. My director friend Jenny Hollingworth feels so strongly that is what theatre is for, she made it the tag line of her production company: Only Connect.