Theatre is a paradox. It forces you to make yourself vulnerable, and yet stay self-assured. It expects one to not only address an audience but also to help them find a connection with a character, and yet also to shut them off with the proverbial ‘fourth wall.’ Its about being true and original, while drawing on ‘techniques.’ It’s walking on a razor edge.
And here lies the beauty of this art form: it lets you be strange and outside of ‘reality,’ and yet enables you to discover core human values. You take on different roles and live the lives you ordinarily might not be able to. You explore emotions through your characters societal norms force you to keep bottled up. Theatre is a beautiful expression of our shared contradictions, of our need for acceptance and a desire to stand out.
What has brought us together as a group of artists is our awareness of our ‘weirdness’ (which if you think about is the common denominator of all humankind). At some point or other we have all felt like misfits. We have felt isolated, like we are too different because of our thoughts or mannerisms or inability to fit into a social setting and our inability to conform to, or sometimes even an outright defiance towards, the demands of the society around us. We are ‘weird’ because we find a thrill in the ‘bizarre’ and ‘strange.’
If you give it a little thought, you’ll realize you’re not too different either. Self-expression is a key human urge. You must have felt the need to express your deepest quirkiest thoughts at times and found your surroundings – your peers, your parents, children, family, friends – to be not very receptive. You shut yourself up. That matter in your head, those ideas, keep swirling around and getting dark and gaining weight until you feel you need to spit them out or implode.
This is why you need cultural spaces: to let it all out, to come together in a sense of human solidarity and respect and find solace in this process. It’s therapeutic; cathartic. It is in these cultural spaces that we, as a society, filter our conscience, evolve together, heal, repair, and find common ground. Lose these and you’re left with paranoia, fear, and mistrust.