“We are a bit out on a limb, for a “family theatre” with Chicago. But should our stage speak only of warm friendly stories, only of traditional, untroubled, comforting families and friends? Clearly, we love to celebrate heritage, beauty, tradition, integrity, and values. But the broader, sometimes dysfunctional family of humanity is very real.
“Is the dysfunctional world, and its starker tabloid stories, its flash and trash, something about which we should speak?
“Please let us know.”
Well, Mr. Crabtree, below is my answer to your question.
The truth of the matter is that life isn’t perfect for anyone. If they say it is, they are not being truthful with anyone, least of all themselves. In today’s world you are met daily with people who are cynical and jaded. The world (the media?) and life in it has made us this way. We are a post 9/11 world. Even the most conservative people will admit that life isn’t what it used to be.
Theatre serves several different purposes, and while I’ll admit that one of them is to make you forget for a few hours and slip into a “perfect world,” that can get old at times. Happy endings are wonderful. Sometimes I even wish for them. But living life has taught me that the real world is more like “A Christmas Story” and less like “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
These generations of people who are living in a world that is often confusing and troubled need something to relate with when they come to the theatre. Sometimes you want to escape, other times you just want someone to say “I understand you.” We are, unfortunately, a generation that is offended by little and shocked by even less.
It’s a balancing act. I’m not naïve enough to believe that it isn’t. But I think there can be a balance of “safe” and “not so safe” theatre at the Cumberland County Playhouse. The talent that is housed there is incredible and I loved seeing it used to share a story like Chicago. I hope that CCP will continue to take these risks. And I think that there are others feel the same way that I do.