FROM THE BLOG
I love the theater. Art is one of the distinguishing capacities of the human— both to make it and to be reached by it. And, in the theater there is a doubling of its power. The art is live, in the room with you, and your presence and your response affect it. And you are in a room with strangers- neighbors who are also affected by it, impacting it, swept into it. You are in communion for the length of the performance. The live arts breathe the same air as the audience.
I’ve been thinking about the special power of the theater throughout this rehearsal process with Melinda Lopez.
Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel wrote a song that Roberta Flack made famous in 1973. In 1997 a new version launched the career of Lauryn Hill with her hip-hop group The Fugees. ‘Killing Me Softly’ was about the experience of being in the audience when a live performance started to tell the story of the its narrator.
“I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style And so I came to see him and listen for a while…”
Melinda has read this play aloud half a dozen times in the past year we’ve been working on it. In each case, the audience has come to listen for a while. They’d heard something of Melinda, or the subject matter, or they were subscribers to the theater that was presenting the reading. Their decision was as casual as the narrator in the song."