A friend and I attended a production of Godspell* in Memphis recently. It’s a show about how individuals from all walks of life, drawn together by the singular sayings of a modern Jesus, coalesce into a new-born community united in ensuring that no one feels alone or unloved.
When performed with passion, when youthful actors clearly devote every ounce of their being to a performance that leaves nothing in the tank, the audience cannot help but feel optimistic. In this production, the actors were committed to making sure every note floated into our ears on key, every dance step was in sync, every lighting cue spurred the expected change in tone. They didn’t always hit their marks, and in that human-ness, in that less-than-perfect-ness, the performance became all the more endearing, all the more ennobling to witness.
This was an amateur production, but in the passions they exhibited, this cast showed true love for what they were sharing on stage. They fulfilled what it means to be a true amateur: to do something not for some financial gain, but purely for the love of it.
If you’re feeling a bit weary from too much bad news from the 24/7 talking heads on TV, I encourage you to seek out a local theatre company and take in a performance. Be ready to have your faith renewed that even when things may seem bleak, the spark in a young person’s eye—who still believes that dreams do come true because in his or her life they are still coming true—will transform you into someone who remembers that not every story ends with a crucifixion.
*Stage Door Productions at the Kroc Center in Memphis (www.stagedoormemphis.org)