Opening Night!

May 16, 2009

Is there a moment more fraught with excitement and relief in the theatre than opening night? Heh, maybe closing night is a close second, but we’re not quite there yet. The Hub Theatre’s inaugural production, The Pavilion opens to the public this evening. Before any seats get filled, I can confidently say we have accomplished a great thing.

Of course the work is far from over, but this is truly a milestone to be savored. I remember last winter when Mike Daisy was at Woolly Mammoth, talking about the broken relationships between theaters, and actors, and patrons, and the undervalued nature of theatre… and he’s right, it’s very far from a perfect industry. I would venture to say the majority of the folks who work in the arts air more on the side of self- sacrifice, than gain and wealth. But from where I stand what is to be gained from the accomplishment of giving so much is a nourishing and necessary part of the creative process.  It is, in many ways, what has kept me and Helen going. Unsolicited encouragement from community members has been its own currency  this first year. Money is good too, don’t get me wrong, money is good, and can help stave off a lot of the exhaustion that comes with this job. But if anything was proven to me this past year it is, theatre is not a dying medium. It is under- communicated, and undiscovered by many , many people, who, like actors and designers, directors, and artistic directors, are busy just trying to keep their corner of the universe afloat…

After Mike Daisy’s show there was a panel discussion, sort of a state of the union for theatre. During the discussion Michael Kahn, of The Shakespeare Theatre, referenced a story from Daisy’s show about a summer Dasiy and a few of his friends started their own theatre company, and ran all their shows in rep. By Mike Daisy’s account it was insane, and exhausting, and they had no money, and the stress pushed the relationships to their limits and on and on, and I can relate to all of these things. Daisy ends the story with how the theatre company never re-grouped for the next summer, but it was the best summer of his life. Michael Kahn’s comment was he wished Daisy had gone back the next summer; it would have been interesting to hear that story.

The Pavilion is a good story. Entwined with the play, and the lines that the actors speak is another story, about designers who built our set, and created the universe, and atmosphere of light, and sound, who dressed the characters, and put props in their hands, of actors who memorized, and grew to know the characters they speak for, of a stage manager and director, producers, and artistic directors, board members, volunteers…and finally audience. Our combined work– if all goes well, and as it should, won’t simply show the labor that’s been done, but will tell our story.

A story is a living thing and I don’t think it can ever die; we might forget for a while, but it’s still there.

The Universe begins with a story.

Maggie Ulmer

Artistic Director, Development and Outreach.

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