You might say that theatre is a dying form of art. I know many who say so, and in many ways, it is. However, I am lucky to have my grandpa, who teaches me that theatre will never die because humans need plays to understand reality.
I was born in Beijing, a city where Western theatre culture solely lives on the niche. However, my grandpa is outside from the mainstream; he almost falls in love with Western theatre culture and thank my grandpa for buying me a ticket of the operetta Die Fledermaus. It was my first experience in theatre, which made me entirely fascinated by the artistic vibe of the hall, the emotional connection between actors and the audience, and of course, the beautiful story performed on the stage. As a child, theatre introduced me to a different world and culture, like a mystery that waiting for me to explore. After the Die Fledermaus, I watched more plays with my grandparents, such as The Marriage of Figaro, The Merry Widow, Notre Dame de Paris, and Anastasia. All of those brilliant shows are still alive in my memory.
As explored more, I started feeling that being the audience is not sufficient for me – I wanted to be an actor. In this case, I joined the school musical Spamalot in Grade 12 and played the role of “The Lady of the Lake.” Participating in Spamalot was a turning point in my theatre life since it was my first time to undergo how complex it was to produce a show; it requires plenty of time, money, effort, passion, and collaboration. Theatre productions blend all forms of art together; writing, dancing, acting, design, music, all of those artistic elements have been interwoven into a play. Therefore, the complexity makes theatre the most profound way to embody the understanding of art, and more significantly, a culture.
Last year, I decided to enrol in the Fall Production The Cenci at Western University. Participation in The Cenci had shown me the unbreakable relation between literature and theatre. Driven by my great passion in Western theatre culture, I hope to seek more advanced experiences in Britain, which created those extraordinary playwrights like Shakespeare, Shelley, and Eliot. I genuinely believe this trip is going to be unique for me because the ambiance of London will fulfill my wish of childhood. What I wish to search in theatres of England is not an entertainment, yet an artistic endeavor, profound history and abundant culture behind a play. I want to understand why my grandpa was so determined that theatre is never dying.
This trip may not be smooth; the most fear of mine is the cultural barrier. Nevertheless, theatre is a place for communion, and I am glad to have my lovely classmates and instructors with me to build a communion for the adventure. What matters is the ones who sit beside me and share the intriguing mood inside the theatre with me. It is a pity that grandpa does not get a chance to watch a show in England since he is too elderly to fly across the Pacific Ocean, but I will delicately hold my grandpa’s love towards theatre (also mine) in my heart, and start this exploration of the “dying art.”