[caption id="attachment_10568" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Daniel Beaty"][/caption]
We are happy to welcome guest celebrity blogger Daniel Beaty, who is currently starring at Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre in the solo play Through the Night, which he also wrote. The acclaimed actor, who received an Obie Award for his other solo play, Emergence-See!, has blogged for Playbill.com all week; his final entry follows.
One of my core beliefs as a human being is that we are all connected beyond any labels of identity, like race, class, sex, sexuality, etc. This is a message I am trying to communicate by performing Through the Night as a solo show: If a single person can make all these varied people come alive through him, perhaps we all are connected.
At last night’s performance I witnessed this phenomenon firsthand. As I walked out on stage, I saw a theater full of men and women of all different races, backgrounds, and ages. There was even a group of young black boys dressed in charter school uniforms of black slacks and white dress shirts. My heart was so full. It was an amazing show, and the audience was electric. The laughs were louder, there were audible gasps, people even said things from the audience and spoke to each other. For example, there is a scene when a man with a food addiction eats out of the trash can. As some gasped in shock and others laughed in embarrassment or, perhaps, recognition, one woman said audibly, "I've done that except I was looking for a cigarette!"
By the end of the performance, the audience was cheering-- some people were literally shouting. And I am so clear that, though I got to be a part of it, this was not just about me or my performance. I truly believe these people felt suddenly and completely connected to each other. There was an openness and a generosity that, while I hope my words and performance prompted, this varied group of people collectively decided to create. They decided to go together on the ride.
This is my dream for the American theater; this is my dream for our world: that no matter how varied we seem on the outside, we find those moments of connectedness, and that we stand up and cheer together. It can be rough out there. There are challenges in all of our lives that cause us to question if we can make it through the night. But it is my prayer, my hope, that diverse audiences like last night’s will continue to flood into the Union Square Theatre and allow me to do my part to entertain, encourage, and inspire. It has been my absolute pleasure to be your Guest Celebrity Blogger this week. See you at the theater!