Saturday, January 10, 2009

The great magical quotient

I bought myself a shiny, silvery 120GB iPod Classic to replace the 20GB model whose hard drive expired. It wasn't easy. I felt like Tom Hanks in The Money Pit. I had to upgrade my operating system so the iPod would run on my PowerBook, and I had to buy a new case to protect the screen.

But it's up and running, with plenty of room for my show tunes and theatre-related podcasts. Now, while I'm waiting for Downstage Center to resume, I can download all of the Working in the Theatre podcasts from the American Theatre Wing and watch them while I walk on the treadmill.

Of course, I have to start with the May 2007 program on leading men, which included Kevin Spacey, who was on Broadway in A Moon for the Misbegotten at the time.

Kevin was the person who first sparked my interest in the theatre. I became a fan around the time he became artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre, and he was so passionate whenever he talked about being on the stage.

Here's some of what he had to say:

"People come into a theatre and it's the most artificial surrounding you can imagine. There's big curtains, there's exit signs, there's chairs, there's programs. And yet somehow, if the elements have come together right, 20 minutes into a play that entire group of a thousand people or less go to a world that you're asking them to go to and they believe in that world.

And that collective experience, where a thousand strangers come into a building and believe, is what to me is the great magical quotient of when great theatre, great performances, happen. It's almost like a breath. We feel the audience."

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