What theater means to me

The Hebron theatre program when they went to the Texas State Thespian Convention last year.

Photo provided by Bailey Anderson

The Hebron theatre program when they went to the Texas State Thespian Convention last year.

The lights are in my eyes, blinding me for an instant. The lights move away, but when I look out, I can’t see anything but a sea of black, vague outlines. It seems unreal; it is. It’s not real. What’s real is on the stage. I’m a different person, in a different life, with different feelings. In a way, it’s wonderful; it’s an escape I can learn from. I have a  few hours where I get to be someone other than me.

I look back out to the sea of black, and I still can’t see anything. But I do hear the applause. Finally, I feel people beside me, holding my hands, creating art with me.

The true feeling of being on a stage, hearing the audience applaud for you and your cast, is a feeling that can’t be put into words.

Theater is the only art that’s been dying but survived for so long.

Theater creates empathy and understanding. Theater influences people and through it, people can change the world.

March is the official Theater in Our Schools Month. Some people say theatrical education doesn’t matter in schools, but they’re wrong. It does matter. It helps students connect, grow and learn. Students are able to expand their creativity that will help them throughout the rest of their life.

Theater is different from every other art form. It’s is a two-way street. Theater feeds off live reactions from the audience. It’s a cycle of energy. The more the audience gives the actors in terms of excitement and interest, the more the actors give to the audience in their performance.

Theater helps people connect to themselves and to each other. Because theater is a global phenomenon, existing all around the world in different forms, theater helps people understand different cultures and different ways of life. Through storytelling, people are taught about ideas, things and people they otherwise wouldn’t have learned about.

Theater is great for team building. In a show, we all have to work together. Everyone has a job, and everyone’s job is important.

One of my directors once told me, “Theater is the mirror that the actors hold up to society.” Theater forces society to examine itself and the problems it has. Through theater, we can study and attempt to fix those problems as a team.

I could go on and on about the reasons theater is important to the world, but theater is also incredibly important to me.

I think of the people I act with as my family. Creating art together brings us close together. I learn to trust them and trust myself. We become a team – an unstoppable, creative force to be reckoned with. Getting the opportunity to be someone else in theater helps me understand more about who I am. Theater has helped me gain more confidence, to be able to understand and communicate my thoughts and feelings to the world. When I’m in theater, I’m doing no harm. Theater doesn’t hurt people. When I’m performing theater, I’m creating, not destroying. The world needs more of that.

A friend of mine told our entire cast, “Actors put their hands in the flame so that others don’t have to.” Actors feel the tough, difficult feelings and suffer through the problems so the audience can see what happens based on certain choices you make, but they don’t have to feel it.
Theater is undeniably important to society, to the world and to humans. Theater is an intense, beautiful, part of humanity. I’m proud to be putting my hand in the fire.