Theatre Fixes Things

I truly believe in the power of theatre, for both the audience and the actors. While I like acting because it is the most fun work I’ve ever done and I feel as though I’ve accomplished something after a show, I also do it because it’s an escape. As you’ve no doubt deduced, I’m a rather shy person, but playing a character erases that for a few hours. Then there are the times where I come into rehearsal in a terrible mood that is eradicated as soon as I step onstage. Physical and emotional trials are left at the skirtlight in acting, and it’s marvelous. I also know a good number of people who have been pulled back from the edge of hopelessness by participating in theatre, so to me, the declaration that theatre saves lives is no exaggeration.

Lately, I’ve been missing being in a show terribly. I pine for the stage and can’t wait until I’m finally cast in something (God, please let it be soon..) But if I can’t be onstage, I might as well go see something onstage, especially if it means supporting my friends. So tonight, I went to go see one of my college friends in a performance in the city.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will tell you that even though I’m definitely a lot better on the grief front since I last wrote about it, I’m still working through it. That, combined with general “holy-crap-I’m-on-my-own” stuff, is still leaving me an emotional wreck pretty regularly. Before I graduated, save for once, panic attacks were something I only experienced as a reaction to someone’s death, and they happened very rarely.This past month or so, though, has seen me experiencing full-fledged panic attacks a few times and on the edge of one pretty frequently.

I don’t say this to be dramatic or to get attention. It’s something I’m going through and I don’t know why, but it’s really super scary. People deal with these sorts of things all the time, for their whole lives, and I’ve been lucky enough, up until this point, to not be one of them. Now, though… I’m really freaked out. I pulled myself out of a panic attack when I went home on Tuesday night, and though I haven’t been that close to one since, I’ve had this feeling in my chest all day today, like I’m drowning but also that my heart is on fire. That’s the only way I can think to describe it. It was to the point today where I nearly didn’t go to the show because I was afraid that I’d have an attack on the train or in the theatre.

But I went, and sitting in my seat before the show, I was very worried. But then the show started, and about three-quarters of the way through, when I suddenly remembered that I wasn’t actually in the world that was onstage, I realized that I hadn’t felt panicked or physically uncomfortable for over an hour as the show was going on. Transported by the show, I was calm and able to enjoy the performance completely. The magic of theatre had cured me of all of my ills.

Now the feeling is back, beginning on the train home. I would very much like a show to disappear into so that I can be transported even more fully than seeing a performance onstage.

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