Campus Column: Theatre is Magic

Olivia Shackleton, Campus Editor

“Remember that theatre is magic and magic is theatre, and blessed are we who create that magic.” The cast and crew repeated these words before every show at my high school. I recall circling up before the show began and squeezing the hands of people on either side of me as the nerves and excitement ran through us. 

It has been three years since I’ve been on stage, and I almost forgot how true those words are. Theatre is magic. 

 About a month ago, I was heavily debating whether I should audition for Jack Connelly’s one act “Jesuspalooza.” Knowing Jack, I figured the show would be hilarious, but I was still unreasonably nervous about auditioning. I had not acted in three years, so I knew I had to be rusty. However, I still got cast and the process began.

 As quickly as it started, it was coming to a close. Suddenly, we hit tech week and were running the show three times a night. There is something so indescribably special about tech week. The show goes from being in shambles to being a production with lights, sounds and a cohesive story. That is magic in itself. Reflecting back to how our show looked seven days ago, I cannot believe the show we performed. The light cues and the music added to the effect of the scenes and made the show feel more complete. The crew moved the set pieces and kept the cast quiet backstage (a job that few can handle). 

Finally, when opening night came, the magic began. Performing for an audience renews the actors’ energy and encourages them to give their best effort, since the actors are not only reacting to each other on stage, but also taking cues from the audience’s reactions. Every night the audience was different, so every night the show was different. 

 Even though there is endless magic that happens on-stage, there is plenty more that happens off-stage. “Jesuspalooza” gave me the best tech week experience I could have asked for. It reminded me just how wonderful the people involved in theatre are. Hanging out after rehearsals for five plus hours and swapping our craziest life stories brought me so much joy. There are very few people I have met who are willing to be their truest, wackiest selves, and I fully believe that theatre attracts those people. It takes vulnerability to perform — to stand on stage in front of others and emote, to call to mind someone who is different from yourself and take on their mannerisms and characteristics. I think this vulnerability leads to bonding between cast members. 

Tech week and the weekend of shows proved how powerful and magical theatre is. There is no feeling that can beat that of being on stage with people who love and appreciate you, while giving the audience the most polished, entertaining performance you can.