Well, Happy (Late) Valentine’s Day, One and All! Like most things in life, I know we all have very different feelings about Cupid’s holiday. And so, in honor of the holiday, I thought I might wax poetic on a topic that is universally beloved by all of us here at The Surly Mermaid: The Theatre!
And so, without further ado…
A Love Song for The Theatre
Set stage! Open curtains! And here I go again,
In a very unusual way
I think I am in love with you…
Something inside me goes weak,
Something inside me surrenders,¹
Surrenders to the swelling overture,
To the dark anonymity of the house,
To the scenes and the blocking and
The vulnerability of the script.
So [you] give [me] ten thousand reasons to not let go, and
Well, that's all that I've wanted for longer that you could possibly know.²
Those ten thousand reasons have names too:
Ophelia, Celie, Peter, Nora, Evan, Fantine, Cyrano…
Names that are more than names;
Names that mean pain,
For when I went to the theatre, I made the discovery --
All at once and much, much too completely.
It was like [the stage] suddenly turned a blinding light
on something that had always been
half in shadow,
That's how it struck the world for me.³
And you give the best kind of love!
It is a love that changes,
That makes me braver, and more gentle;
More outspoken and more ready to listen.
Theatre love pushes me out of my seat,
Out of my comfort zone,
And into the waiting world.
And I won't lie--
I'm a little bit frightened...
Swear I'll try;
I'm feeling enlightened.
You're my inspiration:
[I] can fly if [I choose] to!⁴
I can change the waiting world,
If I choose to.
That’s what Theatre love,
is all about.
And so I love you, Dear Theatre,
Because you never let me down.
You always deliver--
With your arias that rise beyond the opera house ceiling;
Your bleak moments of silence right before the scene goes dark;
Your thousand, thousand different iterations of love,
(for good or ill)
“How obvious it is now--the gift you gave [me].
All those beautiful powerful words, they were you!..
The voice from the shadows, that was you...
You always loved me!⁵
“Unusual Way.” Nine. 1982.
“Only Us.” Dear Evan Hansen. 2014.
Tennessee Williams. A Streetcar Named Desire. 1947.
“What You Mean to Me.” Finding Neverland. 2014.
Edmond Rostand. Cyrano de Bergerac. 1897.