Today Friday March 27 2015 we are celebrating World Theatre Day! Imago Theatre asked Julie Tamiko Manning to write a bit on what theatre means to her.
Q. Why theatre?
J.T.M. Actually, I get asked why I don’t do more on-screen stuff. By people who are not in theatre OR film. It’s a pretty tiring question. I don’t like having to justify why I’m an actor…but it’s even worse feeling like I have to justify choosing the STAGE over screen. And I ask myself on a regular basis, “Why do I still do this?” Why do I still want to make theatre? There’s less money, less celebrity, less credit…and not many people even go to the theatre. People go to theatre in New York, sure, because it’s the thing to do, but why don’t they go here? I don’t want to keep on banging that question around in my brain anymore…but here’s a short story: I once asked a friend why he never came to see any of the plays I was in. It just struck me one day that his wife came to everything I did, but she always came without him. He said that the theatre made him feel stupid- it’s wasn’t something that he “got”. Then last week he told me that on a trip he had just made to New York with friends, he’d decided to buy a ticket to a play. Which he went to BY HIMSELF. And HE LIKED IT. I was so baffled that I was speechless. Partly because I don’t understand the why people drool over the theatre as soon as they get to New York but mostly because I didn’t want to ruin a positive theatre experience he’d had, by opening my big judgemental mouth. And OH was I going to judge the play he went to!
But why should I do that? Because I would rather he like MY kind of theatre?
Then I imagined that he’d had some kind of MOMENT- sitting there by himself, some kind of impactful moment…the way I do when I watch theatre…any kind of theatre, mediocre or not- there is that MOMENT that resonates with me, and only me. And that one moment will be the thing that will make my day or my week or my minute… so I never asked him and let sleeping dogs lie. That experience belonged to him.
I don’t need to tell people about the moments I experience in theatre, you have to experience them yourself- and maybe that’s why it’s so hard to explain. But most likely, the inexplicable is why I am still in theatre.