Let’s Make Magic

Laurel Brooks (Mom in TRUE WEST) chats about why she loves theatre.


There is no Frigate like a Book  

To take us Lands away,  

Nor any Coursers like a Page  

Of prancing Poetry –   

This Traverse may the poorest take         

Without oppress of Toll –   

How frugal is the Chariot  

That bears a Human soul.

There are other frigates of equal power and theatre is one of them. You can be a passenger tomorrow night for the final dress rehearsal at Third Avenue Playhouse, 7:30 p.m. You may also purchase a ticket over the next four weekends and be transported far beyond the streets you walk every day.

Do you love theatre? I do. It allows me to enter a room with other people, often strangers, sit in the dark and watch the light come up on an idea that first lived in the playwright’s mind and was translated into another vernacular by the director and actors to make a world I might never have experienced if they hadn’t invited me in. When the lights come up at the final curtain, more often than not, I am changed. I don’t always notice it in the moment, but as I walk into the future, I view it through a prism shaped and colored with hues I first saw in that performance: newly acquired life tools.

A few years ago, Third Avenue Playhouse was working hard to be a useful community resource. Then, James Valcq and Bob Boles came along and picked up this sooty little jewel, looked around at the community, looked at each other, and said, “Let’s make magic.” The personal gifts they brought here and give to us so freely every day are extraordinary…truly. I know because I began attending their productions regularly a few years ago and routinely come away wondering what we have done to deserve this bounty. And today, I know for another reason: I have a small role in the current Third Avenue Playhouse production of  TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard, which has allowed me a glimpse into the workings of professional theatre. I have watched close up, the transformation of words on a page into something as alive as you and I. Bob Boles, Jonathan Wainwright, Mark Moede and Doug Mancheski are the professionals who drive this engine, snatch up the willing and unwilling and take them on the ride of their lives. Forevermore, their landscape will be peopled by characters and ideas they hadn’t known and now, can’t un-know. 

Please come. You may love it, you may be puzzled, but you will not be unaffected. And you can leave the theatre knowing that you helped polish this rescued jewel. You will own part of it. And you will want to return to see how brightly it shines as James and Bob turn it this way and that way in the light.