Drama is magic.
No, I don’t mean drama as in breakups and pointless fights among friends. I mean drama in the original sense — theater, acting, performing. That sort of thing.
Why is it “magic?” I really don’t know for sure. All I know is that there is something incredibly special about it — something so special that “magic” is the only word that can describe it well enough. Allow me to attempt to explain why I think so.
So, a play is announced, and you go to audition for it, probably alongside a bunch of friends if you’ve had similar experiences to my own. At the auditions, you’re nervous and sometimes probably embarrassed, but you stick it out and do the best you can, often receiving encouragement from your friends.
Later, you get a call from the director(s) offering you your role(s). If you’re like me, you’re absolutely ecstatic and say yes without any hesitation. You can hardly wait for the first rehearsal, and when it finally comes, there’s even more excitement than there was at the auditions.
You read through the script with your friends — now your fellow actors and actresses. You start memorizing your lines. You start blocking scenes. Things get better and better at every rehearsal. It’s hard work, but it’s great fun at the same time.
After a while, it all leads up to opening night. You get into costume, get your makeup/hair done, and wait. Before long, you hear an audience begin to gather in the auditorium. The tension among everyone backstage is almost tangible. There’s excitement, there’s nerves, sometimes there’s absolute terror.
In my experience, all of the negative emotions go away as soon as the play begins and you hear the audience enjoying it. Most often, the audience laughs much more than you thought they would — you tend to forget how great a play is after rehearsing it so many times. As you act on the stage, you get so immersed in your character that you almost forget what’s really going on. The same goes for the audience — if everyone in the play does well, they create an illusion for everyone watching, making them forget where they are and all of their troubles. They create magic for them.
Before you know it, the show is over, and you get to hear the audience give their final applause during curtain call. You walk out to take your bow, and the applause grows louder. It’s the audience’s way of saying: “Thank you for creating magic for us to enjoy.”
And as you smile at the audience and bow, it’s your way of saying: “You are so welcome.”
After the show, you meet your audience and rejoice with your friends. You hear compliments from people telling what a great job you did, and you feel like the happiest person on earth.
Most of the time, more shows follow the first. And then, once the final show is over… you’re done. You help take down everything, you go to the cast party for a final hurrah, and you go to bed that night feeling as though you’ll never be happy again. When you wake up in the morning, you find yourself back in ordinary, day-to-day life — a jarring transition after spending so much time and energy on a production.
Thankfully, you get used to it pretty soon. At the same time, you know that you will never, ever forget the wonderful experiences the play brought you. The magic still lives inside you. I know that probably sounds a little corny, but it’s true, at least in my experience.
So what is it about drama that’s so magical? Is it getting the role you most wanted? Sure, that can be part of it. Is it having a blast with your fellow cast and crew? Absolutely, that’s another part of it.
But I think, most of all, drama is magic because it allows the actors, crew, and directors to give a wonderful gift to the audience. To allow them to escape reality and be immersed in a story, with the hope that, by experiencing it, each of their lives will be a little bit brighter than before.
That’s a very beautiful thing, and that’s why drama is magic to me.