By Helen Berdebes
The theatre is a place where I have always found refuge. There is something incredible about showing up somewhere and being able to shed the day’s troubles, becoming a completely new person. I have been in many shows throughout high school and college, but this is my very first community theatre production. With all of my previous production experiences the refuge was found in a traditional theatre building. While I have an extreme love for indoor theatre, nothing could prepare me for the beauty of an outdoor community theatre experience.
A few days ago we had our first of many full cast outdoor rehearsals at the stage. I showed up prepared with my bug spray and chair, unsure of how I felt, trading the safety of the indoor theatre for the outside. I quickly realized that I had nothing to fear, the precious indoor theatres will always be there, but this was a special treat. There is a freeing feeling about spending evenings creating art outdoors. It almost seems as though we are transcending time back to a simpler place where you would stay out with friends after dark playing make believe with the fireflies.
It is a treasure to find this mindset of joy and peace that can often seem to vanish from adult life. As if being outdoors is an old friend and you can’t help but to smile, embrace them, and pick up where you left off. The magic of the outdoor theatre truly creates an atmosphere of nostalgia and summer at its finest.
There is no age limit to this freedom. The oldest members of the cast strike up conversations with the youngest and people from different walks of life share their stories and bring their various experiences to the table. All walls are broken down when we hit Perry Farm. The comfort and freedom of the outdoors makes it feel less intimidating to ask questions of those more experienced. The knowledge and talent is free flowing in all directions and fosters a great environment for performers to grow and flourish.
This bonding allows something truly magical to come to life. When the cast comes together and feels this fleeting lift, it is sure to permeate through to the audience as well. I am thankful to have a place to create this sort of magic and comfort for others fueling catharsis through the overwhelming joy of outdoor theatre. Come see Acting Out Theatre Company’s Beauty and the Beast at Perry Farm and enjoy a truly enchanted evening under the stars with us.