Basically, this is a post which is long overdue.
It will anger a few.
Hopefully it will open some eyes.
I do this not as a plea, not in hopes for things to change. Because things will never change. I see that now.
I do this so that both sides of the story are known. I was always taught that there are two sides to every story, but that has gone unheeded.
Once upon a time I was a part of a community. A thriving, loving, diverse and dramatic community composed of characters as varied and colorful as any I’d ever read. I suppose it could be said that I married into the community, since the man who became my first husband was, at that point, the darling of the day.
It was a community theatre. If you’ve ever watched “Waiting for Guffman,” then you know the vibe. Kooky, outrageous, and a little out of touch.
It was just like me, and it became home.
When I took the pregnancy test that told me I was expecting my first child, I was at a rehearsal. Steel Magnolias. I was producing.
I integrated myself into the businessy structure of the organization. I took minutes and sat through more board meetings than I care to remember. It all seemed so important then. The dramatics of adults with a purpose became the theme of my free time. It touched every part of my life – I got my hair cut by people I shared dressing rooms with (Leslie, I should acknowledge this publicly…I never tipped you because I had no clue I was supposed to. I’m so sorry. One day when I’m not broke I owe you like $500.), and once that first child was born, the party they gave me was epic.
It was the understanding, fun, and eccentric community that I’d always dreamed was out there.
It went on for years…even when I divorced my first husband, they were still my family.
When I remarried, though there had been some changes in the theatre’s makeup, we still made it our home. I fell in love over and over on that same stage.
But now, I have to say goodbye. The people who were once my family – the people who stood by me through heartache and loss and jubilation and glee – they don’t want me there.
The reasons are varied. If you ask twenty people you’ll get twenty different reasons, stories, issues.
What do I think? I think it’s sad.
I think egos are overgrown and the good of the organization is no longer important.
I think a community theatre should be open to all who want to be involved. I think everyone has their own way of weaving the spectacular tapestry that it once was. There was once a charming little guy who came to every performance just to hand out playbills. Charles couldn’t do much else, but he was there, faithfully…until he was told they didn’t need him anymore. His earnest, loyal, heartfelt presence – just turned away. By people who should have embraced him and given him a place to belong.
I also think people are selfish and power hungry. Why else would board members overstay their terms indefinitely and use what should be official meetings to gossip about someone’s scandalous personal life?
I don’t really embrace religion anymore because it is mainly composed of corrupt, egotistical hypocrites. The theatre was my escape. My refuge. My reminder that people are still capable of being real.
That’s not how it is anymore. The real and loving people I knew have turned into poisonous, narcissistic vultures who know nothing of loyalty. Who turn those they have claimed as “family” out without cause or explanation. Changed locks and misplaced priorities.
It used to matter so much. In a way it still does, but only to the part of me that wants to please everyone.
That part dwindles as I age. Soon I won’t care at all.
But while I care, I wanted to tell the story. So that what I felt wasn’t lost, and so that it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Goodbye, family of the past. You aren’t real people anymore.