“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” -Phillip Pullman
This Thursday, we had our first preview performance for The Woman In Black at Williamston Theatre.
I got up onstage just before the show to make the pre-show announcements, (“Hi! I’m Tony, turn off your cell phones, thanks for being here, turn off your cell phones, we have some folks to thank for their support, and if you have a cell phone please turn it off.”)
As I was talking, I said “Welcome to the first performance of our 8th Season!” and the packed house erupted into applause, cutting me off. I smiled and looked out into the crowd, making eye contact with a lot of people who I’ve come to know over the life of Williamston Theatre. (We have a lot of patrons who LOVE coming to the first couple of previews, they love the talk-back after the show: knowing that we’re still in rehearsals they’re participating in what is still a work-in-progress, and they enjoy the fact that they may contribute to what the piece ultimately becomes. We love them!)
So, I’m standing, seeing all of these people applaud and cheer, and had a moment. Just a quick “Wow” moment, but it was there. One of those lump-in-the-throat, I had better talk now because if I don’t I may not be able to in a minute kinda moments, because I was again reminded of how lucky we’ve been.
Starting our 8th Season. Wow. 42 productions – well, 43 now! Lessons learned. Friends made. Families made. Hundreds of jobs provided to artists. Many awards won. And – most importantly – lots of stories told that have moved people.
“People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith–faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.” -Annette Simmons
We’re not done growing, I hope – and in fact as the applause faded and I spoke, I laughed and said “Thank you – we’re as amazed as you are that we’re still here!” because in many ways, we are!
So, this post is a Thank You. And an acknowledgement of the huge amount of hard work and faith and dedication that so many people have given to help keep a dream going. It’s also a reminder, too : Sometimes, in the middle of all of the day-to-day running and grinding and putting-out-metaphorical-fires, take a minute… take a minute to look around and appreciate where you are, who helped get you there, because it’s important. Remembering why you do what you do, why all the hard work is worth it – no matter what it is you do – that not only makes life worth living… it keeps it beautiful.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” -Joan Didion