The Power Of Theatre

The Power Of Theatre

And what it can teach us.


I’m not an actor and I always (selfishly) thought it was kind of stupid of my friends to pursue theatre degrees. But somehow I’ve found myself interning at a Shakespeare theatre and, over the course of the summer, I’ve been slowly forcing myself to accept the possibility that this may be what I want to do for the rest of my life. And while the job market is daunting enough, there’s another reason I’m resistant to accepting the idea of myself as a theatre kid.

With so much pain and sorrow in the world, I sometimes wonder if there’s value in the work I do as a dramaturg for a teen camp. Every time I open my Facebook, I’m bombarded with images of the messed up world we live in. I could at least try to do my part and put my time and effort into more important things like social justice or helping the homeless. But instead I’m giving kids lectures about Shakespeare in the morning and spending my evenings watching the professionals perform. I keep wondering if my time and energy could be better spent elsewhere, not because I’m unhappy but because countless others are, and here I am at a tiny theatre in a tiny town in Virginia. I’m not trying to have a White Savior Barbie moment or anything but all the same, how can it be okay for me to sit here and do nothing?

For all the suffering in the world, I believe that there is value in the path I have chosen. I have chosen to spend my time helping build stories and watching them come to life on a stage. And when you get to the final product, there’s something truly unique and beautiful about watching a life play out in front of you. And the fact is that there’s something deeply powerful about a good story, whether it’s a short monologue given by a teenager or a classical masterpiece on a brightly lit stage.

Stories can teach us about ourselves and the world around us in a way that’s both understandable and relatable. Even the most seemingly trivial stories can teach us something. One of the plays running at the theatre I work at is Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and it’s full of guy-liner, tight pants, and crude sex jokes. One of my favorite parts is when John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, and James Monroe sing “Macho Man” and spend half the song grabbing each other’s butts. So clearly, it’s not a Shakespearean masterpiece and it’s probably not going to be taught in classes 200 years from now. But there’s a moment when Andrew Jackson is talking to an Indian chief about forcing him and his people to move out West and he says “Yeah, like totally, you were here first. But the truth is, we don’t give a shit.” And sometimes that gets a bit of laughter. Then he looks right at the audience and says “And we never will.” Then, all the laughter stops and everyone gets really uncomfortable.

And while I’m just starting out as an intern and I have so much to learn, I want to one day create moments like that. I want to provide a time for audiences to escape the harsh world while they watch Senators twerk and I want to speak truth to them along the way. That’s what good stories do. They provide a safe place for us but they don’t tell us bald-faced lies. They give us time to relax, laugh, recuperate, but they prepare us to reenter the world and confront it. This is how I make my contribution. Try telling me there’s not value in that.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Disney Plus

Millions of musical-lovers around the world rejoiced when "Hamilton," the hip-hop-mixtape-turned-musical harder to get in to than Studio 54, came to Disney Plus.

For those who had the luxury of being able to watch it in person and rewatch it with us mere mortals on our screens, the experience was almost as gripping as sitting feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. From the stunning sets, graceful choreography, witty dialogue, and hauntingly beautiful singing, the experience was one even my musical-averse family felt moved by.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Keto Is All Fun And Games Until You're Undernourished And Almost Pass Out

Keto is just another extension of diet culture that boasts rapid weight loss, but at a steep price.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

There has been a Keto diet craze going around in the past couple of years, with many of its followers claiming significant weight loss. With any new, trendy diet claiming miraculous weight-loss, one starts to wonder what exactly is happening behind the curtain. The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that claims to help the body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat. In the medical community it has been prescribed to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, but other than that there is little conclusive evidence to other potential benefits.

Keep Reading... Show less

Jennifer Kustanovich is not only the president of the Odyssey at Stony Brook University but is also an illuminating yoga instructor. She's an inspiring proactive leader in the wellness industry. Her expertise in movement expands onto Zumba and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

On the last day of her in-person class, she gave everyone a way of contacting her and made sure to check up on all her clients. She wanted to ensure that they were doing okay and to remind them that she is always there.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 5 Black Female-Owned Swimwear Brands Are Must-Haves For Your HOTTEST Summer Yet

To all the woman who put their money where their mouth is, lets do two things for the price of one.

The start of summer is always exciting,(especially after an unprecedented pandemic) and people are itching to make this particular summer count. Correction: with the amount gratefulness I have for life at this moment in time I am itching to make this summer count.

But at the same time, in the midst of social justice issues, activism is something that is at the forefront of many people's minds, including mine. With money comes power and buying Black is a way to directly help the marginalized and oppressed while getting something in return.

Keep Reading... Show less

These Are The Black-Owned Restaurants In Chicago You Should Absolutely Be Supporting

Support the movement and your appetite at the same time with these amazing spots.

The Black Lives Matter movement is taking the country by storm to crash down systematic racism and liberate people of color. However, during these changing it can be hard to determine what you can do to make an impact besides reposting Instagram stories and texting petition numbers. Instead, support Black-owned businesses or, more specifically, Black-owned restaurants. Here are some outstanding and underrated Black-owned restaurants in Chicago that can help you support the movement.
Keep Reading... Show less

10 Things To Know About LDRs, From A Couple Separated By The Atlantic Ocean AND A Pandemic

There will be challenges, but more often than not, it's worth it.

Most individuals in relationships have not been able to go on romantic dates in quite a while due to business closures in the wake of the pandemic. Other couples have encountered challenges while seeing each other face to face in the past three months due to coronavirus regulations. Long-distance relationships have unfortunately become a reality for many in this era of global health crises. Western New York native and travel journalist, Chelsea Baron, knows this all too well.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments