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BWW Blog: Tradition!

Theatre and Thanksgiving have more in common than you think...

BWW Blog: Tradition!

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, BroadwayWorld readers!

Sure, I may have written about Christmas presents last week, but that doesn't mean I can't show a little appreciation for Turkey Day. I usually forget about turkey until this week every year, which is why I've polled all of my fellow college students and we think its name should be changed to Inferior Poultry Holiday.

What are you thankful for this year? I know I'm thankful that 2020 is almost over and we can start moving on from this dumpster fire of a year. It got me thinking, though. Thanksgiving is all about tradition. Who doesn't love sitting down with family, munching on turkey, stuffing, and maybe some pumpkin pie? (Answer: vegans.) Well, theatre is all about traditions too.

Consider the ghost light. That's an ages-old theatrical tradition where you leave a light on in the theatre in order to be respectful to its ghosts. We have a sort of a similar tradition in our household. My brother and I are both in college, meaning we are nocturnal and we leave the lights on around the house through the night. It sort of has a reverse-ghost-light effect in that it makes our electric bill too high and then my parents get mad, so then they subsequently stay away from us.

Frequent theatregoers, especially Broadway fans, know the joy that comes from the great tradition of stage dooring. You stand in a line with a bunch of other people to meet wonderful performers who just put hours of work into their craft. It's a bit like standing in line for the food in the kitchen before a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. You also always have little equally awkward conversations in line with the people next to you, except at Thanksgiving you have to continue them and then as an art major feel inferior as your cousin talks about their medical residency.

One of my personal favorite traditions is the Gypsy Robe. The performer in a show who has done the most productions gets to wear the robe and then visits each member of the cast with it on. I am not an actor so unfortunately I don't think I will ever be able to partake in that tradition. However, at Thanksgiving, I get to live my Gypsy Robe dreams by running around my household in a Snuggie, and nobody questions it because they all fell asleep eating turkey.

Everybody has their own special traditions when they go to the theatre. Mine is that I always get a Schmackary's cookie before any show, or I'll send them to stage management in a vain attempt to bribe them into hiring me. Now, I'm kidding about the bribing bit, but it reminds me of one of my Thanksgiving traditions. I love to bake cookies or cupcakes for my extended family because it tricks them into taking a bite, and then I can run away before they ask me what my post-college plans are. Full mouths can't ask questions.

All jokes aside, I do really enjoy Thanksgiving traditions with my family. This year I'll actually be able to hold a conversation about the theatre with them. Due to the pandemic, there have been so many new changes in the world of theatre and outside of it- there's a ton of new avenues to steer carefully down and then inevitably crash into a tree when I remember none of my older relatives know what Zoom is. Gobble gobble!

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From This Author Student Blogger: Maggie Cummins