Theatre has always been for me more than an artistic experience. It is also a social and cultural act, a moment of sharing, a moment full of magic and emotions.
In mid-August I had the pleasure of attending the preview of a show for 13+. There were 25 teenagers in the room and some adults.
Because of COVID, I hadn’t been to a show for this age group for a long time. So I was delighted to be there. I had been told that the theme was heavy. Indeed, the show talks about family and the unspoken, about death, about words that liberate. There are also many other things in it.
I would like to share the moments I experienced, not only during the show, but also before and after. All those ‘little’ moments that, when put them together, give you that feeling of fulfilment.
First, the company’s playwright came to welcome the group of teenagers. They were a bit noisy, a bit casual. They sat down in the hall of the cultural centre, and calmly she began to discuss with them: how many of them have already been to the theatre, what theatre means to them, how many of them have lost a relative, etc? They listened. And then answered the questions quietly.
Just before entering the in the auditorium, we were told that there was a technical problem with the show. Strangely enough, I started to laugh. Why? Because I realised that this could only happen with live shows. So I was back in the real world, finally!
Ten minutes later, we entered into the auditorium. At the front of the stage: a coffin. I didn’t know the story or the plot but I was curious to see how teenagers will react.
This audience is sometimes considered unreceptive to theatre. Well, I must admit that I have rarely experienced such beautiful, empathetic and attentive listening. I didn’t just enjoy the performance, I also enjoyed listening to the audience, probably as much as the performers did. The two combined took me through a whole range of emotions.
When the show ended, I was so happy to hear the audience applaud again. Another magic trick of theatre.
Afterwards, the playwright invited the children to discuss the show. Their reactions were incredibly rich. The confluence between the artists and the children had taken place through the sharing of emotions.
When I came back home, I felt regenerated.