Date Nights at the Theater
We're happy to welcome our new theater blogger, Robert Carr, with some thoughts on Valentine's Day, theater, and relationships. Take it away, Bob! It’s Valentine's Day!!! Box of chocolates, roses, Hallmark card, teddy bear, theater tickets…..
Theater tickets? Yes, theater tickets.
Go get ‘em guys….now. They work.
If you're looking for an opportunity to win over the one you love or are wooing, go to the theater. Any theater.
I know this because I do this. A little romantic back story first: my wife and I met performing in O’Neill’s Ah Wilderness! at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown back in ’97. We started dating soon thereafter and I later proposed to her in the lobby of the Hirschfield Theatre on Broadway after Kiss Me Kate (cue the D’awwws). I always thought it funny when people would ask us if we were going to perform at our wedding. You wouldn’t ask a pair of dentists to do a root canal at theirs, would you? But I digress.
The theater has always been a huge part of our lives. We developed a love of this shared experience first as performers and now, more frequently, as audience members. The shared experience of seeing a show funny or sad, entertaining or enraging offers a look into the soul of another person. It seeds connection and kindles conversation. “Did you like it? Why?”, “Did you like so and so’s performance?” “Did you like this production over another?” “Why did we see this!????” And also prepares an equally important decision: "Where are we going to eat before the show?" The experience is fuel. Especially if you disagree!
Every so often this shared experience supplies no words at all. A few years ago, we went to see Dreamcatcher Repertory’s production of Lisa Loomer’s Expecting Isabel, a deeply moving and often funny look at infertility and adoption. This was at a time when my wife and I were sharing similar experiences in trying to start a family, and I remember the quiet squeeze of my wife’s hand as we witnessed the anxiety, disappointment and heartache which the characters experienced and we shared. The impact of watching those gifted actors express the pain and struggle you so palpably identify with 25 feet from you cannot be ignored.
Fortunately for us, we've been blessed with a beautiful 3-year-old at home now, and we don’t get to go out together as much anymore. So, we tag team. One will go and report back after the show, and the same rules apply: “Did you like it? Why?”, “Did you like so and so’s performance?” “Did you like this production over another?” “Why did I see this????” We now have the opportunity to share our love of this experience with our daughter and the quiet squeezes of the past have given way to squeals of delight and wonderment.
I once heard that if you really want to get to know someone, hang wallpaper with them. I would suggest seeing a play. You can learn a lot about this person you are sitting closely next to in a darkened room...also, t’s nice to hold hands in there too.
Happy Valentine’s Day, New Jersey. Enjoy a little theater with your sweetheart this month. You can thank me later.