Making a difference?
There are times in theatre when we have a dither about whether we are making a real difference to the world. Let’s face it, outside of the medical or caring professions, I suspect most people would have a hard time arguing that their work was a major force for good in society; they just get on with it. But in theatre we tend to worry about it. Or maybe we just like worrying.
Anyway, there was no worrying this weekend. Before our second performance, Thelma, Marie and Pat sat gleefully reading about themselves in the local press. Earlier in the day Uncle Pete had wandered past Little Joanie playing with her friends, sauntered over to them and said, ‘She’s a star you know.’ Her friends turned to look at her, ‘Really?’ Without batting an eye-lid, Joanie replied, ‘Yeah.’
Pat could not get over the fact that people had laughed at her monologue about the TV license man catching her out and her husband running out the back-door to tell everyone else to hide their sets. ‘And it’s all true!’
The husband of one participant said to his wife, ‘You’re all glowing, now.’ ‘And to think, I nearly didn’t turn up to that first meeting!’ she confides.
Especially satisfying is hearing an audience recognising itself in the work, ‘Oh yes I remember her. I was there for that. Yeah, that was a good day. Those bloody motorbikes’ And then, after a reprise of the fabulous Elvis-style ‘Just Like Vegas,’ the audience and cast mingled over cups of tea, listening to Cat’s beautiful soundscapes while sitting on a sofa out back, looking at the Edge, chatting to each other, reminiscing, giggling, celebrating. That word is often over-used, but that’s what it felt like. This weekend, an often neglected and forgotten community came together to celebrate itself. And that counts as making a difference to me.