Monday, February 28, 2011

Awards Season

is a big deal for a lot of people, but especially in the circle I run in.  Theatre people are all about film, stars, and awards.  It's the most accessible art form in dramatic arts, and our culture is saturated in it.  Tickets may not be cheap, but they are certainly less expensive than a trip to Broadway from here (read: travel, tickets, hotel...), and they bring big name stars (read: inspiration or critique) to little towns nation-wide.  I love films, as I once edited music videos, graduations, and school short-films (in college, high school, and a former job).  Award shows go with the deal.

Assassins, PTP, 2011

That being said, I am not a big fan of the really commercial awards.  Everyone looks forward to the Academy Awards, while I am setting the DVR for the Spirit Awards.  Funny, awkward, raw, and much more my speed.  I'm not a fashion trend person, so I like the lack of importance on million-dollar dresses and tresses.

Once on this Island, PTP, 2009
Award ceremonies almost all seem to happen at the same time.  Which brings me to our community theatre version, the WATCH (Washington Area Theatre Community Honors) Awards, taking place this Sunday.  There are so many talented people involved in community theatre, and while I happen to think awards are not the big attraction or the goal, having a function to give a nod to the people who work so hard and bring fabulous art to the forefront in their field is a good thing.  I am honored to be a nominee, a member of a theatre that has many nominations, and to be friends with so many talented nominees and non-nominees who also give 110% in every show they participate in.  And I will be attending with some great friends, talented strangers, and "witty" MCs.

The Diary of Anne Frank, PTP, 2010
Again, I believe that everyone who takes time from their lives to contribute to a production is brilliant and deserves all the applause at the close of the curtain.  It's not cheap, easy, or thankful in many respects.  Most of these people are so completely in love with what they do and continue to do it to share their passions with the community, regardless of any "glory" they may or may not receive.  And all of these people are so freaking TALENTED.

This is also the first year my fiance received a nomination for lighting design.  He lights up the stage (and my life, awwwww) so creatively, and I am so proud of him and all his work.  So many awesome people have received nominations this year, and a lot of friends of mine are first-time nominees (Jessica!)!  I'm so excited to attend with them and root them on!

Arsenic and Old Lace, PTP, 2010

I was also nominated, and am truly honored, as the judges are all members of other local theatre companies who take time out of their busy lives to see productions put on by other theatres and adjudicate them.  I have been nominated before, and never won, but I feel that's not the point.  Being nominated alone is a pretty big deal.  It does validate the work you do, but again, IS NOT THE REASON.

The reason we do what we do, for me, is to share art and experiences with the community.  We get a lot of kids and teens and families in to the theatre to experience live entertainment, a rare experience for many.  We find a lot of our audience members return time and time again, and over time, many begin to get involved.  We get a lot of kids who grow up in the theatre, expanding their interests.  They continue to learn and grow and apply their skills in college and beyond.  It's pretty cool.  I, myself, have been a member since age six, and made many lasting friendships and learned and continue to learn many life lessons.

The Producers, PTP, 2010
I don't always love it.  It is time-consuming, aggravating, stressful, and sometimes political, but I always seem to go back.  It's the people, and the love of performance and creating a non-reality for me.  It's the rush of looking beyond the lights and seeing so many heads bobbing in an ocean of red plush seats, completely enthralled and invested in the action on stage.  It's the sound of applause, knowing that you helped to bring home a message or just a break in the every day craziness of life.  And it's the time spent with an amazing cast and crew (and pit sometimes), learning and laughing and growing together.

So, nominees, best of luck!  Winners, I congratulate you!  Just remember that the awards are nice, but not the point.  And remember the most important aspect of live theatre: have FUN!
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