Ominous (thanks ali) jazz played as the lights dimmed. The stage moved. We were introduced to Willy Lowman and his wife, Linda. Then his sons, Biff and Happy.
Over ten years ago I performed scenes from this play in my high school drama class. I remember looking out into the audience at my drama teacher as she gave me stage directions and character tips. I remember loving the play as we sat in a circle and discussed each character in depth.
I love the theatre. Ali loves Death of a Salesman. I decided to make us both happy. And took us to see Death of a Salesman at Lyric Theatre. It was an amazing performance. The actors brought tears to my eyes. Brian Dennehy played Willy Lowman, creating a character beyond what I could create in my mind reading it or practicing scenes from it back in the day. I am not a theatre critic. So I won’t try to be.
Whenever I go see a play, my mind falls back in time. When I was eight years old, I decided that I wanted to be an actress and from then on I became a performer. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I decided to go into Education. After a paid performance in The Nutcracker freshman year, I decided that I didn’t want to waitress and stand in line at auditions for the rest of my life. Instead I wanted to see the world and do something that would make a positive impact on it, so I became a teacher. But my love for the theatre never withered away. I teach literacy though reader’s theatre in my classroom. I create characters to teach social studies and science. I’ve been a costume advisor for high school plays. I have fun with life. And I always love theatre. I sit in my seat and reminisce about my days in Theatre Crafts class when I was designing costumes or the lighting. Because everyone who’s in theatre knows that if you chose theatre, you have to also choose something back stage because everyone wants to be an actor and only so many people make it.
When Linda Lowman cried on stage, I recalled the first time I was preparing for a part and I cried real tears, not thinking about being in character because I already was. There were two points in my college theatre experience that I recall as being my most memorable and successful as an actress. I cannot forget the woman who encouraged me beyond what I knew I could do because she believed I could do it, my theatre professor Daina. I forgot I was a student in a class because she pushed me to feel the emotion that my Shakespearean Sonnet was to provoke. As tears streamed down my cheeks, I was no longer Kara Melissa, but I was the character behind the sonnet. What words do I use to describe such a memory? There are none.
I was so enthralled by the performance I didn’t have much time to reminisce on my own life, it usually begins and ends with these thoughts. My mind did not wander once the actors came on stage. The curtain call always gets me and I held back the tears, I always feel so much emotion when people finish their performance. Perhaps it is my recollection of what it feels like to be in that place, having given all of my energy into becomming someone else and having the audience appreciate that performance. Perhaps it is the memory of a time when I was someone else with different dreams. Whatever it is, I stand up and walk out of the theatre knowing that I will be back. I can already see that once I get a steady income, I will become addicted to the theatre again. No longer as a performer, but as an audience member.