“The Door to Saving the World is Opened through the Arts”

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on May 13, 2011

“The door to saving the world is opened through the arts” — Norman Lear

A woman on the street the other day said to me, “You don’t like the rich, do you?” She might have said “wealthy” — I don’t remember the exact word — but I thought, “Of course I do. I love them. I want to be one of them when I grow up!”

But, seriously, we are blessed with a solid group of supporters, not necessarily wealthy ones, but rich in spirit and generosity, who come gladly to the fore to make sure that we have resources to continue this valiant theatrical effort. Unfortunately, my braced and bespectacled gentleman with the beautiful and gracious wife are a rare breed — breed is the word, as in breeding. If we had ten more like them, we would be home free, and our new center for arts and education would be already built.

If it is not obvious what a unique part of our culture the arts are, then there is no way to convince you of it. I see children who pick up a book because they were intrigued by a play we produced, or the young woman who acknowledged that she had been in Hello, Dolly here some years ago and, in doing so, helped her self-confidence. There is no monetary value to be placed on the mental bliss, the thoughts provoked, the tool for education, or simply the “vacation of the mind” that the arts offer.

The arts lift us up above the common and our creativity which comes as a gift from God brings us closer to the heavens. My fellow Irishman Oscar Wilde said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” In this moment in time, we are wont to think of the arts as an unnecessary luxury. This is a grave mistake, as the arts are not a luxury, but a key to all of our other successes. The arts give meaning to our stargazing.

The following is from a commencement speech at Goddard College:

“Artists, don’t let anyone tell you that what you do isn’t important, that it’s optional, or that it’s ‘extracurricular.’ It isn’t. What you do is absolutely life-giving, and identity-forming, and gives hope to people’s daily lives, all around the world. Always know this. What you do matters. What you create from inside of you matters. It can provide identity, hope, a sense of worth, a much-needed validation of existence and the right to beauty and life. Art doesn’t just save lives; it creates them. We are what we share with others from inside of ourselves.”

Auditions for the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music are on Monday, May 23, at 5pm.

Tomorrow, during The Civil War‘s 2pm matinee, the 25th annual Monte Awards will be given. The Civil War continues on Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm, with curtains at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays through May 21.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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