Let me tell you what makes me feel weak

In order to write about what makes me feel strong, I must first write about what makes me feel weak and that’s Zoom.

Yes, Zoom is a useful tool, it’s better than nothing and we need it right now. I appreciate Zoom, but Zoom exhausts me.

The eternal Zoom closeups, the mute button, the original sound that isn’t original. The option to “touch up my appearance.”

Live theatre reveals how old and nervous I am. Zoom makes me feel like I should be ashamed of those things, but in reality, being myself in front of and among actual people emboldens me. 

And sharing new work? Yes, it makes me weak in the knees, every time, but that’s also what empowers me. That’s what makes me feel strong. 

I miss theatre so much.

I miss seeing whole, imperfect bodies shuffle into the theater. I miss feeling the cold come off of someone who just rushed inside.

I miss saying, “Nice to see you,” in real life, and meaning it.

I miss being in the audience, watching and listening to new work.

I miss real performances where actors push and pull their whole bodies through time and space on a stage, and the only reason I can hear them is because they know how to project.

I. Miss. Live. Music.

I miss seeing people blush. I miss the intelligence and discipline of a live audience. I miss the organic sound of people clapping their hands together.

I miss the warmth of cold readings and witnessing the heart-pounding vulnerability of having new work read.

I miss printing my scripts, even though that chore is always 100% stressful. When will I be able to do that again?

I miss that moment of being trusted with a script. I miss seeing actors with my script.

Actors reading a scene from my play “Hotbed” in 2020, a few weeks before the stay-at-home order.

I miss being in a room filled with writers, directors, actors and producers.

I miss seeing people in profile. I missing seeing the backs of people. I miss knowing there are people sitting behind me.

I miss metaphors.

I miss seeing the secret smiles exchanged between longtime friends and short-time lovers, and short-time friends and longtime lovers. I miss the trust that is placed on everyone in the room.

I miss the hierarchy, the overtalkers, the awkward chit-chat and hearing someone’s phone go off.

Lord, or whatever your name is, deliver me to the theatre, stat. I understand Zoom is a necessary tool and I promise to continue to do my best with it, but if I am to ever feel whole and strong again, I need to be physically among my people. Please, thank you and amen.

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