It’s more than you, it is more than me
Whatever dreams we have they’re for the family
We’re not alone anymore now there are others there
And that dream’s big enough for all of us to share.
As Curtis sings to Effie in DREAMGIRLS.
The idea that we actors are a family is obviously not a new one. It’s actually quite an ancient idea. A band of actors traveling here and there to tell a story, an entertaining story, a story of social significance and if you are lucky one that does both. Either way, in order to do this you spend hour upon hour, day upon day, week upon week and if you are good and lucky, month upon month and longer… together.
You share close quarters (dressing rooms, one or two bathrooms), watch as each other matures and grows as individuals, witness happy moments (marriages, births of children), grieve and console through hard times (deaths of “real” family members, health issues among you) etc… we ride the roller coaster of life and it’s a very unifying journey.
Your director, if he/she is good, is a mother/father figure, who guides you lovingly through the process one step at a time; supervising each step, helping to shape each thought so that all of the family can grow in the same way at the same time.
As a citizen of the theatre world we are lucky to have many families. Each family has it’s own dynamic and life span. Some families you wish you could divorce quickly, others, when the inevitable time comes to move on, you are left devastated and not quite sure how you’ll survive the break up. Somehow you do. And when you think nothing could quite top that last great experience another completely different, but equally wonderful, clan of Koo-Koos comes along and makes you feel proud to belong.
Here’s to our theatre families. All of us ever the traveling band of actors flitting from one group of lovely people to another, making deep and lasting connections that last a lifetime. For those of us who go through a tough stretch in life know we are always here for you. We’re just like that.
“You be good… and I’ll try!)