A Secret

Psst, don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret.

Los Angeles is one of the most vibrant Theatre communities in the world. Yes, it’s true; there are dozens of productions that open every weekend. Some are splashed all over the media, with grand announcements and parties galore. But most open with little fanfare, only acknowledged with the sweat and tears of the producers, crew and cast who have worked tirelessly for little or no money in an effort to bring their work to an audience.

Why do they put forth such effort? There are many reasons, not the least is the hope of discovery and an introduction to the riches that stardom has to offer. But for most, the reason lies in the fact that theatre is a passion. The passion is to be a part of the grand human experience, and an opportunity to share insights, aspirations and observations.

Without going into a theatre history diatribe, it is important to remember that theatre is as old as mankind. The desire and need to impart history and wisdom may have started as conversation, but even for the least astute it becomes apparent that drama helps get the message across and remembered. Thus theatre was born perhaps at the campfires of our ancient ancestors. Through the ages it has inspired ritual, pageantry, and awe, all of which became formalized and morphed into religion. The lore and the traditions and the beliefs of a culture are passed from one generation to the next.

For many, theatre is in fact a form of religion, a ritualized form shared with members of the community, offering an opportunity to look at alternative views, to experience life outside of one’s own reality, face challenges as others might see them. Theatre temporarily sets aside our propensity to judge, and allows us to be taken on a guided tour of introspection.

And then of course there is the communion, the common union of the like-minded, the communication, the beginning of community, (and all that the word implies), and all is at the core purpose of theatre. In fact theatre is the communion, the mortar that holds together the vast mosaic of our varied communities. The cultures of the world glimpse each other and at that moment comes the realization that we are all brothers and sisters.

So, whether the actors, writers, crew and producers know or intend to be a part of this world communion effort, by their passions, they are in the thick of it. All their effort occurs, day in, day out, week after week, months into years, the passion ever increasing in intensity and volume. Thousands of artists gather and work in concert and through strife, to launch the audience into the world community.

Here in LA it occurs almost everywhere you look. Store fronts, warehouses, parks and proper stages. Wherever an audience can be gathered, Theatre is being performed. Some of it is esoteric, much of it brilliant, all of it worthy to note in its efforts. The goal of Footlights is to illuminate the Theatre community, and spread the word that Theatre in not only alive, but live and well.

About Peter Finlayson

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Peter Finlayson is the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-chief of FootLights magazine and footlight.click. While working on a prelaw program at the University of Michigan, he happily got involved with the theatre program. Much to his mother’s chagrin, law school never happened, but in a career spanning more than 4 decades, Peter has performed, directed or designed more than 150 productions. In his spare time, he is working on a new play. You can follow him on Twitter @Thtrdog .

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