Anton in Show Business
By Jane Martin
Southern Oregon University Production
Director: Scott Kaiser
Scenic Designer: Daniel Haskett
Costume Designer: Deborah Rosenberg
Lighting Designer: Catherine E. Ridenour
Look!—the cast list just went up on the callboard, and once again, you’ll be playing the part of The Audience.
Now, I know what you’re thinking—another play about theatre people? Haven’t we done enough of that? I mean, let’s see…just off the top of my head, there’s Noises Off, The Royal Family, The Dresser, Room Service, Enter Laughing, Light Up the Sky, Six Characters in Search of an Author, A Life in the Theatre…and then there’s the musicals, like Showboat, Kiss Me Kate, A Chorus Line, The Producers…and then there’s the plays-within-plays, as in Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Love’s Labor’s Lost. I mean, can’t playwrights think of anything else to write about but themselves?
Okay, point taken. But admit it—people love to see plays about theatre people. Just as they can’t get enough TV shows about detectives, doctors, and lawyers, they can’t get enough plays about actors, directors, and producers.
And if you think about it, why not? Is there a better metaphor for life than theatre? Of course not. Because, just as in a play, our lives are cast with lovers, fools, rivals, sidekicks, critics, idealists, cynics, defenders, hypocrites, sages, and imposters. And, just as in a play, the stories of our lives are filled with hope and despair, valor and fear, trust and betrayal, sacrifice and selfishness, clarity and delusion, cleverness and stupidity, triumph and loss.
So, let me give you a quick note before you go on. While you’re watching Holly, Casey, and Lisabette striving, despite all odds, to stage Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, remember, you’re really just watching yourself, taking your entrances and exits, making the best of your given circumstances, pursuing your scene objectives, overcoming strong obstacles, struggling to have your acts unfold in meaningful ways, hoping to achieve your super-objectives before the final curtain falls. Got it? Okay then—
Places, please, ladies and gentlemen! Break a leg, everybody!