Ask Lyn: What do you miss most about theatre? cover photo

Ask Lyn: What do you miss most about theatre?

Ask Lyn: What do you miss most about theatre? cover photo
Lyn Gardner avatar
26 November 2020 · Follow on Stagedoor

"Dear Lyn,What do you miss most about theatre? To my surprise, I’ve discovered it’s not just the shows themselves that I pine for but also many of the other things surrounding a night at the theatre which I thought were extraneous, but I’ve realised are an integral part of it." Surprised, Manor Park

Dear Surprised,

That’s so true. I’ve been intrigued to find myself feeling this too. So, here’s a little list of some of the things I’m missing most, and I’d love to hear from readers what they are missing too.

–The feeling of awe that all these people have gathered together in one place to see this particular show when there are so many other things they could have chosen to do.

–Leaving all your belongings in the cloakroom and walking into a theatre unencumbered. Then leaving it a slightly different person from the one you were when you entered.

–The queues for the loos. Yes, sometimes it’s an irritation that it takes up much of the interval, but often it’s also a chance to have brilliant conversations with strangers about the play.

–The sense of expectation, possibility and excitement in the moment of silence just before the show begins.

–Tap dancing. I just love a good tap dance.

–That moment in a brilliant show when you are suddenly aware that everyone in the audience is leaning forward a little and your hearts have started beating as one.

–Floating out of the theatre after a great show and everyone around you is talking about it, and the babble is one of excitement and joy. Sometimes fury, and that can be good too. People have felt something.

–That bubble of laughter that turns into a wave that turns into a tsunami and travels around an audience when a comedy is firing on all cylinders.

–Watching a company you’ve never heard of for the very first time and loving their work. Then going to see their second show and loving it more.

–Crying in the dark, because it feels as if the show is speaking directly to your own loss and heartache.

–An interval ice-cream. One of life’s great pleasures. Even if it's slightly melted and they always run out of stem ginger.

–The actors. Their bravery in going out on stage night after night and giving us a little glimpse of their souls.

–The tiny pregnant moment of silence before the applause, the rustling and the coughing begins. It’s as if the audience has needed a second to be awoken from a dream.

–The clapping. There is nothing like the roar of a genuinely delighted crowd.

–Seeing an actor who you’ve never seen before – maybe an Adrian Lester, a Fiona Shaw or an Andrew Scott – and knowing that you’ve got years and years ahead of watching their craft and sorcery.

–Corpsing. I love it when things go wrong and the actors acknowledge it. It’s so human; so live and alive.

–That moment when you realise you're watching something really special, particularly when it comes after a run of indifferent shows that have made you think maybe you are falling out of love with theatre. Then you get that feeling like a hormonal rush and you tumble head over heels all over again, and know that for you theatre is your one and only.

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Lyn Gardner
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