“Some people commit their lives to this, and all they want to do is give you something special.”
What a wonderful time in St. Louis theatre at the moment. What amazing talent resides in my hometown!
There was an article written by Chris Colgin in the Riverfront Times a while back, Hey, St. Louis: You’re Missing Some Really Good Theatre. It spoke about the abundance of theatre in our town yet finding empty seats at performances.
And, I agreed when I read the article. Companies work so hard at putting their all, their best, their
heart into a production, yet only sell half the house of seats. There are many things that take up our collective time: sports, family, life, laundry. But, what is presented on stage is sometimes bigger than that. Yes, it mimics our lives, places a magnifying glass on moments, and sometimes gets too close to home. Our relationships. Our communities. Our history.
There are so many things circling around us right now in the country. So many “not-so-great” things. Things and people attacking the strength of our diversity. Not recognizing how, without diversity, we would not have a country. And, not realizing how we have treated others “not like us” has harmed us in so many hurtful, hateful ways.
I feel there is a confluence in St. Louis theatre right now. Two shows playing this weekend have shown on stage what it means to be a person of color or an immigrant. These shows have reflected how we have treated one another and how that treatment has magnified our lives in history. These shows have shown what it means when we search for home and acceptance.
A confluence of time. A confluence of history. A confluence of theatre.
“Ragtime” at Stray Dog Theatre has sold out every performance on their schedule! EVERY. PERFORMANCE.
It tells the story of three groups of people in 1920’s America: an African-American musician, white upper-class suburbanite family, and Jewish immigrants. Each one finding their truth. Each one’s lives colliding. And, each life affected by the acceptance or non-acceptance of the other.
Powerful and beautiful and heart-wrenching and truthful. And, still a reflection of our time now. How hatred for another due to the color of their skin and the struggle due to their background is palpable and difficult to watch. Painful. Powerful. Yet, beautifully portrayed by those on stage.
“In The Heights” with R-S Theatrics – of which I am an honored cast member – tells the story of LatinX immigrants. Their struggle for acceptance and the need to find a place in the world. Their story of family and of home. How our lives mesh with people of other ethnicities and colors. Their struggle to find a place for heritage to be included in their current existence.
And, I’m happy to say, this show is also selling out dates quickly. As of this writing, we have sold out most of the 9 shows and are trying to add a new date.
We have a story to tell that’s relevant and timely.
So, is this due to the theatre community’s strength in St. Louis? Or is it a reflection of our time in history now? What’s happening around us.
I always say that theatre is a voice for the voiceless. Our director says “if we can touch one person with our story, that one person can make a difference in someone else’s life.” The ripple effect sounds beautiful.
Yes, there seems to be a confluence in theatre right now as we provide a glimpse at our lives on stage. Stories of how we are and have been Americans together. Living together. Struggling together. Existing together. Hating each other. Killing each other. Calling each other names. Protesting our perceived importance or lack thereof in some cases. But finding solace together. Strength together. Future together. Even when it seems impossible. The different colors on stage are proof we can work toward a common goal of beauty.
No matter the reason, the result is the same for us in theatre. Each of the performers – all performers – want to bring truth to our characters, to the story.
Come experience truth. Talk to each other. Love each other. Find our common ground and common ancestry. Our common home.
In The Heights runs August 18 – September 3 at the .Zack on Locust in the Grand Center Theatre District. Tickets can be purchased here.
Carmen Garcia writes about stuff… life as a single mother, dating, weight loss, performing, and other random experiences. Sometimes it makes sense. Other times, not so much. You decide.