Tonight I House Managed at the Williamston Theatre.
I got hugged by 3 people.
All were after the show. One was from a man I know loosely, who was clearly moved by the show, so the hug was unexpected but not at all unwelcome. The second was from a woman I’d never met, and she very cheerfully said “Thanks so much! This was wonderful, we’ll be back!”
But the third hug…
Officially I’m the Artistic Director, but the staff takes turns house managing. Partly it’s because we’re a small company, and we don’t have the money to have a full-time House Manager. Partly it’s because we like being connected to the audience in that way – there are 4 of us who founded the place, and we like being there with the audience, to meet them and get to know who the folks are that are actually paying money and taking time out of their lives to spend with us in our space.
Tonight we had a nice audience at the theatre, for our production of This Wonderful Life. They were very into the story, and afterwards they gave John a standing ovation and clapped for a very long time before letting him make his “curtain call speech” asking them to donate money for Equity Fights Aids.
As they filed out of the theatre, many of them were fishing money out of their pockets to put in the donation bowl. Many were smiling and hugging, and many were clearly emotional from the show, and were dabbing their eyes as they walked.
One man, an older gentleman by himself, was wiping tears from his eyes as he approached. He opened his wallet to drop some bills into the collection bowl, and then walked past me, headed for the exit. He stopped after a few steps, turned back around, hugged me tightly with one arm and said to me with a whispered, shaky voice: “Please tell him thank you for me. That was… that inspired me to finish a Christmas letter that I should’ve finished a long time ago.”
He pulled back, and we looked at each other for a second.
“I’ll tell him. Thank you. I’m really glad you came.”
He nodded, and turned, and shuffled away.
Tonight I was reminded why we do what we do.
No one can tell me it doesn’t make a difference in the world.
Tonight, I got hugged by 3 people.