Village of common strangers

Emotional language is a fickle thing.

There is an underlying network that either tightens or loosens whenever you find yourself in the company of friends. And of strangers. Anyone who at one point in their life worked in theatre knows that it can be a hostile home, a place where one might not always feel welcome. A place of competition and unrest. And yet there is a structure which holds a theatre together, a structure of love, of passion and of kindness. Within specific confines of a playhouse and within the greater scheme of a magical tradition, theatre is a melting pot of social movement. From the very private experiences of one's life in it to the public exploration of human nature on stage.

As some of us return to see and make theatre after this period of absence we find ourselves shaken. I sat in seclusion for so long, some behaviour patterns that used to come natural to me now feel like distant memories. And yet theatre and the people in it coax me back into mighty waters. I missed mingling with strangers of the same tribe. I have a new-found awareness of the privilege this mingling constitutes. Theatre makers are passionate people, often blindsided by what is most important to them: Telling a story and being part of the journey it takes to get to opening night and beyond.
Photo by Mel Piper
Photo by Mel Piper
We have become more aware of the different premises that apply to different people. Premises that are derived from a person's appearance or biology rather than the quality of their work. Rules like that have been around for centuries and some of us argue, that theatre is still a white-boys-club. But there is a palpable shift in the air. My optimism dictates that this change transpires beyond theoretical endeavour. Those of us who get to go on story adventures in theatre or in film may still experience the sensation of privilege. One which in a perfect world extends only to having the chance to tell stories. Beyond the storyteller's privilege there shouldn't be one derived from appearance or biology. But then again theatre is a microcosmic society by definition.

In my book London is the epicentre of theatre. And the connective tissue of theatre and film that exists in British culture makes absolute sense to me as a writer and a director. The last few months I disassociated with my core in a way. I started patching it up and I believe the process of self-healing has begun. For someone who used to be fairly comfortable writing what is on their mind, losing parts of their emotional language is a scary thing. When only the barest vocabulary remains, it becomes overwhelming to relearn the rest. So there we are, finding our feet. Learning how to fly and how to love again. To my friends and lovers and the village of strangers.

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