The Power of Theatre

Emilly Dykstra – Lady Capulet (Romeo and Juliet) and Margaret/Seacole (Much Ado About Nothing)


At last nights dress rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet, a dad and his two boys walked by partway through and decided to stay and watch the rest of the run. The little boys were enthralled. At one point, someone overheard one of them asking the dad what was happening, and he said to keep watching to find out and keep enjoying it. By the time the final fight scene happened and the tomb scene happened, they were completely engrossed.

We told them about opening Much Ado today, so they came back with the Mom, after a 14-hr workday for the dad and cancelling other plans for tonight. We even brought one of the boys on stage at one point where we invite an audience member up in the show. They’re coming back tomorrow to see all of Romeo and Juliet.

This little family has touched all of us so much in the last 24 hrs. This is why we do this. Why I agreed to be away from my husband and friends for 6 weeks and miss Chicago’s amazing summers, to all the sacrifices of a crazy summer schedule like this, to the bugs (and you guys all know that’s a big deal for me–haha!) and sweltering heat. It’s the hunger for a compelling story told live. I don’t know this family’s situation at all, but many audience members we’ll have this summer may never have seen a professionally produced play, may never have been able to afford one that came to town if not for our pay-what-you-can structure, and may not have experienced much of the world outside of their little spot in Indiana. But we’ve been able to transport them to Messina (Hawaii in our production) and Verona.

And we see ourselves in those boys, remembering the awe of our first live plays and the awe we feel now when we experience the transcendence of good live theatre. For me, stories help me make sense of the world and life and make me feel the closest to God in the telling of them.

Hoosier Shakes is doing something so special here and I believe will continue to do big things for this complicated and multifaceted little town and beyond

–  Emily Robinson

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