Thursday, February 2, 2012

Theatre and the Obsolete Skill

When I was first starting my "professional" career in theatre I sublet a room in a beautiful brownstone building in a suburb of Cleveland.  A few weeks into the sublease I met my roommates parents when they came over to dinner.  After a while of polite conversation the discussion turned towards me as I attempted to explain what I was attempting to do for a living - designing and constructing costumes for theatre.  This is involves a broad spectrum of knowledge from paints and dyes to sewing techniques and patterns not used commercially for hundreds of years.

The roommates mother, while trying to make an attempt at interest, responded "Oh my, what an obsolete skill."

I try to give this woman the benefit of the doubt that this was an attempt at polite conversation, but I could tell by her tone that she thought what I was doing was a big waste of time and you know what sometimes over the following 5 years I felt like I was wasting my time as well.  Really, what how can live theatre compete with super 3-D special effects and superb sound editing these days.

This is why I worked 70 hour weeks in college for two theatre degrees.
This is why I lived on less than $20,000 a year, working full time.
This is why I flew cross country multiple times each year and missed countless holidays and special occasions with my family and friends.

Though this was not a show I had the honor to work on I know many of the shows I did moved people.

This might not be my career anymore, but I will continue to be "A Theatre Person" for years to come because I believe that magic is possible and miracles happen.

And in my book nothing that can make a connection and create a moment like this one can ever be considered "obsolete."

"All the world's a stage..." - Billy Shakes

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