i & me & you
A blog about a play
8. The Real Star
We’re almost there. And by there, I mean There. We’ve done all we can. I wrote a thing. It took as long as it took and some days it was difficult and some days it was less difficult, but I finished it and showed it to some people and one of those people decided (for reasons that will always be crazily moving to me) to put it on a season at a wonderful theatre in a great city.
She also agreed to direct it and bring her meticulous and gifted eye to making the play better, and then gathered remarkable actors and designers and craftspeople to take this tiny little story that started in my living room and bring it to life on a stage. And we’re ready to share it.
That’s where we are. There. Capital “t” There.
And that brings me to the actual star of the show.
I know. You probably think it’s one of the actors. Because that’s how we’ve been trained. Movies and TV and entertainment culture tells us that there’s always a star. It’s usually the most impossibly beautiful woman or man ever created, or sometimes the weirdest and most compellingly odd one. They are at the center of what we are watching and the Pop Culture Complex informs us over and over that they are a star. No. Not A star. But THE star.
Well, I’m here to tell you the real star of the show is somebody you know just as well as you know yourself. Because the real star of the show is you.
That’s right. I’m not kidding. It’s you.
We’re telling a story. This particular story is a love story, but whatever type of story it is, it’s still just a story. And while putting it together, it belonged to us. But now it belongs to you. Because you are the star.
You will spend 90 or so minutes with us while we tell the story, but once we’re done, we’re done and it doesn’t belong to us anymore. It belongs completely (and I mean completely) to you. And you get to decide what to do with it. You can turn to whoever you were sitting next to as soon as it’s over and do something that is my very favorite part of writing plays. Better than coming up with the idea, better than finding the best words to tell it. Better than the first time hearing people read it out loud. Better than seeing it coming to life as a real breathing world onstage. Better than all of that.
My favorite part about writing plays is that as soon as you see it (and by “you” I mean specifically you — not generally any you out there in the wide world of yous, but YOU), it’s yours. And you own the story. You can talk to the person sitting next to you and have your own ideas about what you just saw. They might be different than your neighbor’s ideas. I actually hope they are. And if you want, you can talk about it for hours after. And after talking about it, you can still disagree about what you saw.
Because you are the star.
Obviously, I hope you like it. But more than that, I hope you think about it. I hope it sticks with you. I hope it helps you feel momentarily less alone in the wide expanse of the world. I hope it occurs to you in the middle of a Tuesday a year or seven from now. Because, as far as I’m concerned, I started this whole thing in my living room in Queens, New York for you.
Thanks for reading along with me the last couple weeks. I hope you see our play. It’s OURS, remember. Yours and mine. And I’m really excited to share it with you.
—Jeff Talbott, Playwright