Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All Life is a Stage Until You Stop Acting

This is the State Theater, in downtown Minneapolis, on Hennepin Avenue.  I can't tell you how many hours I spent in this building, but it was a well explored building where I became of age.  The lessons I learned, countless.  The sting of beliefs being shattered, how to rebel, and most importantly how to stop acting and start being.  For some, this was a place of bitter disappointment. For others, a place of painful secrets.  And for some, a place of disgrace and shame.  There was more theater than theater once you went through those doors.  For me, at one time, this place represented freedom, confidence, an apprenticeship and the beginning of questing.  Some stories aren't mine to tell.  However, I do remember the end of it all and when the doors slammed shut.  
The last time I wandered through these doors was in 1986, at the tender age of 19.  It's odd, because when you're young and listening to someone reflect back about a time before you were born, you admit you cannot relate to the experience because you can't comprehend a time before your own existence.  Time doesn't start for you until you are born.  Now, at my tender age of 45, because I am neither young nor old, right in the middle of generations, I can only slightly relate to those more senior to me, because I finally have that experience of seeing a city change after being away from it for so long.  This was my playground for 5 years.  This is where I learned how to walk out on stage to perform, to speak my heart and to be involved with the community.  Only at that time, this wasn't called a theater, but a church.  However, at that time, I didn't realize that I was an actor in a fantasy world.
These shots from a few months ago lingered in my mind, as I contemplated the restoration of the State Theater.  I was glad to see the wonderful transformation.  There is nothing like the live audience giving you their feedback as they anxiously await the story that is about to unfold.  What surprised me the most was I was not really thinking about the past, but marveling at its present state.  I noticed the paint, the gold leaf, the water fall, the endless use of light and reflection and the high gloss of the marble.  The later was indeed greater than the former.  She has aged extremely well.
I just sat and smiled because theaters are houses of illusion.  Your emotions can be toyed with if you get lost in the story.  Not that very different from the church this used to be. 
If you were looking for a moral, a punchline, I don't really think there needs to be one.  Eventually all things are just as they are, items to be used.  It just depends on how we use them.  In many places that I had been to from my past, a lot of them are gone.  Some of them were destroyed, closed or in this case, repurposed.  Only my memory exists and the stories that remain.

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