Last night I went to ACT to see Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On a Tuesday night, the theater was about two-thirds full, much as it was at Intiman a few weeks ago, at Crime and Punishment. I get the sense that the theater scene in Seattle is dying, and it breaks my heart. I grew up in Seattle, going to the theater every month during the season, which runs from late Spring to Fall, interspersed with the symphony and modern dance performances by visiting artists. Art is about passion, and you walk away touched by someone else's emotions, hurled across the stage, sending itself in waves through the audience.
This is the first year that I have committed myself to season tickets for two theaters, even if it means I have to go alone. Now when I sit in the darkened theater watching four Mr. Hydes converge on a stricken Dr. Jekyll and feel a trickle of anticipation run up my spine, or when I watch the hapless Raskolnikov hurl himself across the stage, I know I have made the right choice. When I watch actors I have seen onstage since I was in middle school, I feel something electric in my brain, in my heart. I grew up with these faces, these voices; I want this sense of continuation to go on, I want my children (not that I have any children, or even a prospective father for them) to have this same experience. I want theater to live.
You have to have a passion for what you do, my father tells me. It is enough to be able to experience other people's, if only for a few hours, two nights a month.