BWW Blog: Finding Community
Hello, Broadway World! Since this is my last blog, I'm going to get a little bit personal for a second. I am not the sort of person who feels comfortable in a group -- in fact, I struggle to even speak at all with anyone I do not already know very well. Because of that, I tend to get overlooked, lost in the crowd. Even in theatre, that still happens sometimes, but the funny thing is, even though the theatre is filled with big personalities, in almost every theatre community I have ever been in (and I have been in a lot), I have always felt seen. And I don't just mean by the directors, or my professors (for whatever reason, I have always had an easier time talking to adults than people my own age), but by my peers as well.
Everyone always talks about the theatre as being such a welcoming place, a place that gives you the freedom to find yourself, and I know that it can get a little cliche, but it really is true. Whether you're onstage or backstage, you can't help but bond with the people around you, and those bonds extend beyond the run of the show.
My college's theatre company, the Domino Players, holds numerous bonding events throughout the year, the most important and looked-forward-to event being the Induction Ceremony at the end of the year. I can't say too much about the details of that event here (it's a secret), but the one thing I can do is talk about the camaraderie of the event. When I was inducted as a freshman, I thought, "this will be awkward, I don't talk very much and no one knows who I am."
I was wrong.
People I didn't know very well, current Players and inductees alike, called me by my name, treated me like more than an afterthought during the activities, and talked to me like they knew who I was and they were glad that I was there. There were no vague "you seem cool" statements, but actual observations of what I was like. One girl told me that she wished she knew me better, and followed through with trying. I wasn't an outsider, or an awkward sideliner -- I was a Domino Player.
That wasn't just a party thing either. This weekend was my birthday, and I woke up to happy birthday messages from ten different people in the Domino Players group chat. I smiled, said thank you, and moved on with my day. Then yesterday, I was standing in line, waiting for my drink at the little cafe on my campus, and in front of me was a Domino Player whom I had seen around at different events but had never spoken to personally. Still, she wished me a happy belated birthday by name, and we chatted for a couple minutes while we waited for our drinks. Maybe not an earth-shattering experience, by any means, but it made me feel like I really was a part of this community. For someone like me, something this small still feels like a big deal.
I don't want to say that theatre has turned me into an extrovert or anything. I am never going to be the center of a crowd, but in the theatre, I don't have to be to be part of the community.