The bright lights. The exuberant makeup. The fancy costumes.
However, that is not why I do theater. Although the numerous congratulations and pats on the back are wonderful and elating they don't last. The next week I am washing dishes in the back of a kitchen where nobody cares what I can do on stage. The memory of watching a show only lingers so long in an audience member's mind. Success is only a fleeting experience.
So why do I do theater?
I do theater because I am a storyteller at heart. I have always been and will always been a person who shares stories, because I consider the whole of history a story. I delight in becoming a character on stage and creating their backstory that nobody will ever know but me. I enjoy becoming somebody else just for a moment so that I can see what the world looks like from their eyes. I can do so many things on stage that I would never be able to do in real life. Storytelling through theater fills a creative need that I naturally have.
I do theater because it is a gift that God has given me. I am good at it and I enjoy every part of the process. Many of my fellow actors don't enjoy the rehearsal process, only the performances. However, rehearsals are how you create the world you want to present! They are filled with layers upon layers of discovery! Each time you practice a scene you discover more and more of why the characters think the way they do and how they relate to the other people on stage. God has given me a gift to create, and I thoroughly enjoy using it. He has also given me the gift of empathy. I feel what other people are feeling, and that works well on stage.
I do theater because it impacts people. Theater has been a part of culture since the early ages of humanity. Even with our modern methods of storytelling, theater is still not dead! Why? People are still drawn to the story when they can see real people right in front of them. There is a special connection that actors have with the audience. They both feed off of each other in a mutual respect for the other. It's fascinating! I want to use the stories I present on stage to inspire people to follow the Lord and follow good examples. I want to use the stories I present to convict people of the wrong actions they may be doing in their own life by showing them how the consequences could affect their loved ones around them. (Theater shows the whole story from the inception to the conclusion.) I want to use the stories I present to challenge people to work hard, to treat others with respect, and to see the beauty of the world around them.
Although most of the scripts are not blatantly Christian, I think that most of them can be used to share the Gospel. So many stories exhibit sin and the consequences it has. They are filled with relationship problems. God created this world, and so no matter what stories we create it all really comes back to Him whether we realize it or not.
That's why I do theater.
But the applause is nice too...