The eye of the beholder

I do not particularly like watching television shows. Most of them are messy, sloppy. You can always see that despite a lot of preparation, despite sometimes a good plot and script, despite a lot of effort and money, in the end they are just thrown together with great haste. I spot too many continuity mistakes to be able to really dig in deep into the story.

Curtain call at Hair

Every time I do get involved in the story, something odds happens and I am tossed out again. Pens move in and out of hands during meetings. Neck ties swing from left to right and back. Where four people are standing in the sunshine, talking to each other, the close-up of one shows a face in the shade. Hands move in and out of sleeves. Someone drops to both his knees and the next shot shows one knee up. People in crowds move dozens of yards like aliens tele-transporting themselves, or they disappear altogether. Neck ties grow three inches longer during a conversation. Stuff moves about in cupboards, on tables, in cars. Even furniture moves. Hairdo changes, sometimes in the middle of a sentence. Particularly tricky stuff like shaving foam never goes right if a scene is not done in one shot. And I see it all. The first time I watch an episode of any series I see maybe a dozen of these errors. If I watch it again I get to see some forty to sometimes twice that many more. That means at least one error a minute. And for me that makes it hard to get involved in the story or appreciate the effort put in the production. So I do not particularly like watching television shows.

Which does not mean I do not get to see anything of what is going on out there. On boards on the internet I watch what gets discussed and how it is appreciated. And if something is truly valued I find myself access and watch. Sometimes only to be reminded of why I do not own a television set and sometimes to actually enjoy a good show or series. Because they do exist and get aired occasionally. But it is rare.


I much more prefer theatre, although I do not have any sufficient theatre resources at the moment unfortunately. The intimacy. The work together. The actors or musicians or opera company, they cannot do it without the audience. And the audience cannot be without the full dedication of the actors right in front of them. They work together not as two but as one, and they work hard to create something magnificent.
There are no second chances for anyone. Neither for the actor on stage, nor for the onlooker in the audience. There is no script saying “Cut to” after seventeen seconds of something. There is no “Take 2. Action!” The onlooker swallows the cough he feels pestering his throat and rather cries his eyes out than breaks the delicate silence during a key scene capturing both audience and company on stage alike. He does not doze off for he does not want to miss out on the plot. There is no pause or rewind.
Audience and company, rarely groups of people are so fully dedicated to each other.

I love especially opening nights. If the performance was any good, the crowd goes wild with it. I love the faces of the actors when that happens. At first bow they are exhausted. Satisfied, but done. Then, at first curtain call, you can see a glimpse of “Hey, they liked it.” in their eyes. They take their bow and really rather would go now. And then they are called back again. And this is when it happens. The crowds are still as enthusiastic as they were at the very beginning of the applause. The actors bow. And bow again. And they look up and suddenly realise: “God, they love it. They love me!” And their faces break open like that of a son being praised by his very proud father and kissed on the head for a great achievement. The crowds see the message gets across and the applause roars. And then it goes silent as the actors disappear.


Performers and audience gave each other a wonderful gift. Yes, it is about entertainment and business. But much more than that it is love that gets given and given back. The actor loves his job and loves the audience. The audience loves him back. And, you know what, he who knows he is loved, is always a beautiful person.


God, how I would love to be at a good theatre again every once in a while. Although in real life every move is opening night for all of us.


About Jikai

Living a life of blessed less where my feet support my walk and my hands create my story. View all posts by Jikai

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