Believing In Art
On Saturday I went up to the Royal Academy of Music in London to see the Musical Theatre end of year shows (free complimentary tickets for next year's students? Yes please!). So Young-Persons Rail Card in hand, I headed to The Big Smoke to see A Man Of No Importance, Little Women and a cabaret of songs by Jerome Kern (no free ticket for the cabaret unfortunately, but £10 well spent).
(Side note: We need a better nickname for London - New York did well with The Big Apple; The Big Smoke just sounds depressing.)
Needless to say the performances were of a very high standard - the students graduated into the acting profession yesterday, so that's kind of a given. But I found A Man Of No Importance particularly moving. It's the first show I've ever cried at in the auditorium (I cried at Once the Musical, but only on the tube back to Waterloo Station; it was a bit of a surreal experience), and the music is beautiful in my opinion, probably because it's set in Dublin and I love Irish music.
But either way, for what ever reason, I feel like my world has changed a little bit because of that show.
I know how pretentious that sounds. But it's true.
I empathised with the characters and cared about their stories. And I felt inspired by the production; the music, the set, the movement and choreography. I came out speechless, wanting to dive back in to the world that existed for just over 2 hours. I've been singing the songs for the past three days (I've been singing more in general to be honest). I bought the vocal selections on Amazon. I looked up the show on Wikipedia...
I'm a firm believer that theatre can change the world.
Not just by asking the big questions, but by inspiring us, by telling us stories and making us excited about living. I think all the performing arts have that power for both performer and audience in away that nothing else does (well for me anyway; I've been lectured by friends about the inspiring power of Football to show the deep, intrinsic nature of humanity - while it's fun to watch people kick a ball really well, I just don't get it).
What art does is make us look inside ourselves and at the world around us in new ways. It makes us uncomfortable, it makes us imagine the impossible and it unlocks our deepest feelings.
And that's why I believe in it.