I recently had the extreme pleasure of witnessing live theater at the fabulous Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. The beauty of live performance is something that cannot be understood without experiencing it. If you have not ever seen a live production you should…soon.
For me personally, it opens my heart, soul and mind. Each performance is a new adventure and leaves me excited and feeling creative in my own right.
We do not live in the big city currently, but visit every chance we get. It’s a beautiful escape from the daily grind and the excitement builds the closer we get to the city. On this day it was a clear beautiful winter day as we arrived in Chicago, and yes Lakeshore cold. We arrived around 330 and checked into the hotel. I explored the hotel for a bit and then began to prepare for the theater. Mentally and physically.
Mentally I put on my open- minded hat, and prepare for the unknown. I have no preconceived ideas of what it will be like as every time is different. I just know I need to open my brain to fully immerse myself in the experience.
We take a taxi to the theater and arrive a bit early, and decide to have a small bite to eat and order up the pear/sausage flatbread from the Front Bar. The Front Bar is attached to the theater and provides a hip pre-theater (or after) gathering spot. It has a welcoming air about it, the square open bar with tall seats and stylish shelves holding a wide selection of liquors and glasses. it has a long table as well as a few smaller ones and on the far side, there is a casual conversation area welcoming you and providing an area perfect for conversation.
It was brewing with activity as the complex houses more than one theater. We selected a standup table for our pre-event munching. The party next to us was chatting about the playwright and I was listening. They love his work and were excited to see the newest production. It’s difficult not to get caught up in the buzz, it’s all around you. The hum of excitement.
Our flatbread arrives perfectly on time and we quickly devour it, as its nearly showtime. We find our seats in the balcony (front row, my favorite). I prefer the balcony view as I can see the entire stage. Plus I feel as if the sound rises and being a hearing aid wearer, sound is crucial. We settle in and listen to the banter around us.
As I read the program and anxiously wait for the lights to dim and my escape to begin. It begins with darkness and thunder. The stage is set. The players begin to enter and I am drawn in completely.
This play felt familiar, I recognized the characters, they live in my town, or yours. I enjoyed the idiosyncrasies of the characters and the very real quality of the performances. For me, to feel as if I know the characters is a requirement of a well done play. To get lost in the characters and absorbed by the story is essential. This production pulled you in like a spider catching you in his web and keeping you dangling until the very end.
The audience laughed at the humor of the writing and the delivery of the lines was perfect. This production took the audience through a roller coaster of emotions, laughter, humor, and finally sadness. It left me breathless, and definitely generated some deep discussion after the play. To engage with creative people and come to the same understanding of the message is stimulating and reinforces my belief that I do possess a certain bit of creative expression myself.
It’s one of those life events so perfect, you don’t want it to end, you wish to remain suspended in the theater, until the next opportunity comes your way. But eventually it does, you hail another taxi and you make your way back to reality, but not before thanking the actors for sharing their gift and allowing an escape, for even just a few hours from a cold Midwestern December night.
Until Next Time,