Perfect word

Michael Barry

 What is it about theatre which is so compelling?  Isn't it that moment when the theatre is in darkness and anything is possible?  Even when you're about to see a much-performed classic, there's still that instant of suspension when whatever is about to happen is completely unknown - no matter how well you know the play, or the director and actors, and no matter how set your expectations were when you went into the theatrical space.  All those possibilities swirl around: you might experience something wonderful, a unique experience. Or hate what happens. Or find ideas magically confirmed.  Or find your world shaken in a way you couldn't have expected.  Surely that's it?   Why we go?  And keep going?

Folllowing from that, a writer's job (partly, at least)  is to justify the hope of that still dark moment.   I would love someone to walk out after seeing a piece I wrote and say three things (in that perfect world, where words are perfect): "I loved that;  I learned something;  that was surprising."  The first, pleasure - to enjoy the dramatic experience;  the second, finding out - adding something to what you know;  the third -  to have your view of the world shaken or changed.   Those three make up the perfect theatrical  cocktail.