May 13, 2012 1 Comment
Let me tell you a story…
Well, it’s not really a story – it’s just my impressions of a play at Centerstage North in Marietta. Now this will not be a review – at least not in the traditional sense. So let’s get the review-like portion out of the way. The play, “The Story of My Life” is a two-man musical that riffs on the life of a friendship between a writer and his inspiration. It’s cleverly written, and John Stanier and Kelly Carr convey the deep emotions beautifully. Julie Kraar Taliaferro directs with the delicacy necessary when handling great writing handled by gifted performers. And the accompanist, Barbara Capogna Macko, handled the demanding score flawlessly.
But what I really wanted to stress in this little tale is how this show reaffirmed for me what is so special about theater. It moved me in ways that had nothing to do with how I personalized the story. You know, the standard spiel is that you want the audience to be able to connect what they see with someone they know or with themselves. That didn’t happen with me – I know no Toms or Alvins. Yet I was moved nearly to tears several times. How could that be, when I made no personal connection with the characters?
I think it had to do with the theme of the play. Or at least one of the themes that I was able to discern. “The Story of My Life” tells us that these stories are never solely our own. That any story you can tell of your life is also the story of someone else, and that all our stories are connected, whether we want them to be or not. And that’s the connection that I made with the performance this evening.
So although I never said to myself “I know someone like that” or “I’ve been in that situation”, it still showed a universal truth about how we all live our lives sometimes as though our lives are discrete things. As though others are just actors on our stage who make their entrances and exits in service to our story. And it’s just not true – our stories all weave together.
This is what good theater does. It tells a good story, in a way that can have meaning for those who care to look for it. The intimacy of live theater allows those meanings to come across in a way that is different than reading the words in a book or seeing them acted out on a screen. Tonight’s production, as well as several others I’ve attended over the years, has made me proud to say that theater is part of “The Story of My Life”.