Performing Arts

I was in Ottawa during the April ice storm. I ended up being storm-stayed for a night.

That evening I made my way to a local pub. There were few patrons and I chose to sit in a section that was empty. A hockey game was on the TV and I had a crossword puzzle. I ordered a meal.

As I was quietly nursing a pint, a group of five people entered and sat two tables away. While they weren’t overly loud, I could hear every word spoken. It was obvious that they were in the performing arts. Discussion centred around their most recent show and upcoming performances and plans. It was obvious that at least some of them were trying to make a living at it.

One of the things that impressed me was how enthusiastic they seemed. It is always a joy to see people who love what they do.

At one point, one of them mentioned how much she was paid as a stage manager. I thought to myself, You must have another job. I can’t imagine you surviving on that.

The hockey game ended; my meal was done. I arose and put on my jacket. I felt the need to say something.

Excuse me.” I had their attention …… I looked up at the television ….. I looked back at them.

My guess is that you are in the performing arts.”

Is it that obvious?”, one of them said.

Yes. I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.”

I looked back at the television as one of the hockey players was being interviewed. I pointed to the screen. I looked back at the group.

Those people are overrated and overpaid. I’ve played hockey and have been to many games over the years. All I learned to do was yell, boast and cheer.

But when I enjoy live theatre, I have the opportunity to see the world in a different light; a chance to look at things from a different perspective; a time to experience emotions I might not have otherwise. I often leave the theatre changed in some way.

So please keep up the effort. Those fellows” (pointing to television), “stimulate the economy. You stimulate lives. Thank you for the job you do.”

I left the pub. I hope I made their day.

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