Watching Standby, on opening night, I spent much of my time watching the audience. I noticed an older gentleman sitting a few rows away who had started to cry as one of the characters (Jonathan- played by Matt Shingledecker) began to speak about his P.T.S.D. Others in the audience were crying too, but his tears were different and they continued to grow. A few moments later, as the story and songs progressed; his wife put her arm around him and held him as he shook. It was the most tender of moments- her knowing face as she saw him cry, her arm stretching around him, and him pushing against her for support.
Later when Jonathan’s girlfriend (Cynthia- played by Jenna Leigh Green) reached out to support him, I turned and, again, watched that couple. They were still in that embrace- smiling through tears, holding each other…supporting...mirroring the action on stage. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.
Standby has always been a ball of emotion for me, a bleeding heart. I cry every night and I’m not afraid to admit it... But it’s not about sadness, or even happiness. It is about reaching. It’s about feeling a connecting. It’s about feeling. It’s about feeling alive.
At the opening night party, that gentleman found me. He introduced himself. With teary eyes that never wavered from mine, and he told me his story.
“I was a Marine. Those stories. I have those. I still have the nightmares…” He shook my hand and didn’t let go for few moments. “Those actors did so well. You did so well. Thank you.”
We stayed there for a moment as I thanked him. I pulled him from his handshake and into a hug.
There is no higher praise than that. Reaching someone. Connecting.
After he walked away, I stood there for a moment. I had to take in that experience. I still am, to some extent.
Just thinking of him, I am humbled, honored, excited, and touched and above all… I feel.
I feel alive.
Writer/Actor/Storyteller. Theatre Maker. Husband. Bad Hombre. Cat Taunter.