By Mary McNamara
15 August 2019
Some people get anxious when they fly, I get tense when I go to a play. Particularly if the space is small and intimate and there is no intermission.
I fret about tech disasters and dropped lines, bad casting and flawed sets as if I were the playwright’s mother or some make-or-break investor. Mostly, I worry that it will be terrible and that I will be trapped. Theater is an active, communal experience; what if I, as an audience member, can’t hold up my end because despite what the reviewers said, I just really hate this play? It’s not like I can hit the remote or get up and leave. I can’t even slump in my seat and commune in horrified hilarity with my friends. The people who are making it are right there.
And that’s for a play that’s finished. Watch a work in progress? Honey, there’s not enough Xanax in the world.
Then my older daughter became a summer intern at the 22nd Ojai Playwrights Conference’s New Works Festival and so I went to the final production. By the time it ended, with a denunciation of John Proctor, a celebration of Lorde and 200 people on their feet cheering, crying and dancing their way onto the stage, my theater anxiety had vanished; I was cured.
Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times.