March 27

World Theatre Day

 

You’re watching a play about the end of the world.

It’s actually a play about peace.  The actors hope to highlight the transformative power of art.  Dramatic art, in particular, has a persuasive immediacy.  As the story unfolds, with living actors in the same room as   the audience, spectators become emotionally and intellectually involved.  A theatrical performance can actually change people’s minds.

Corporate bosses can learn more compassion for their employees; politicians can be swayed into crafting better policies.

For two hours, song and dance numbers amid lavish sets convey a message of hope and prosperity.  Contrasting scenes of modest family drama reinforce the struggles of ordinary folk.

The curtain drops after the finale, then rises again to introduce a solitary woman in a bright, flowing costume.  A spotlight follows her as she steps haltingly to the edge of the stage.

“Why didn’t you do anything?”  Her head bobs slightly.  You’re not certain, but she might be looking directly at you.

You glance nervously at the seats beside you, at the empty rows in front and behind.

“Why didn’t you try to stop it?”  The woman’s figure makes an awkward stumble.  The spotlight shines over her, revealing thin strings supporting her arms and legs, the wobble of her head.

An offstage voice attempts to match the clack of a small wooden mouth. “How could you have let this happen?”

The string lifts her arm, points a finger in your direction.

Curtain.