Anthony J. Piccione
- OnStage New York Columnist
For many years in my life, my dual passions for theatre and writing have served as an escape for me. After all this time, I can’t possibly imagine doing anything unrelated to either of them for the rest of my life. It started when I first discovered my love of acting back in 2008. I was 15 years old, and was just beginning my sophomore year in high school. I had no friends and simply felt a need to find a new activity to participate in to help make school easier for me to survive…although at the time, I had no idea that it would evolve into more than just a mere hobby or activity. At the start of the school year, I signed up for my high school’s Drama Club.
I still remember to this day what it was like the first time I performed on stage for the first time. I was extremely nervous at first, but felt a great sense of thrill and excitement once I actually went and did it. After that, I continued to explore my passion for theatre by going to see more shows at local community theatres, at the Bushnell Center in Hartford, and of course in New York City when I could afford it. I took acting lessons at the Hartford Children’s Theatre as a teenager, and worked on dozens of community theatre productions, first as an actor, and later as a production assistant, assistant stage manager, assistant director, and many other positions. Finally, I went on to become a Theatre major at Eastern Connecticut State University in the Fall of 2011.
While I loved creative writing for years before – having written several short stories, poems, and a short one-act play in high school – it was in college that I fully realized how I could combine my two passions into one, as well as how I could potentially be lucky enough to do something with my love that involved both of them. During my second year at Eastern, a time in which I felt uncertain and afraid about what lied ahead in my future, I took a playwriting class that would ultimately prove to be a major moment of revelation for me. It was at that moment when I knew where I could both maximize my creative potential, and also how I could satisfy my personal craving for both theatre and creative writing. Furthermore, this class and the scripts I was inspired to write after taking this class also helped improve my non-fiction writing skills a great deal. This led to me getting significantly better grades in my essays in college classes, and more recently, to working as the Dramaturg for the Experimental Theatre production.
In all of the examples of past experiences that I mentioned above, I am deeply grateful for each and every one of them, and for how they have made me the person I am today. I have enjoyed being part of the ensemble – both onstage and offstage – that comes together to create art and bring stories to life in a way that no other art form is able to do. I have enjoyed watching, performing in, working on, and eventually writing my own plays that have been produced in community and regional theatre. But perhaps most importantly, my love and appreciation for the arts has only grown stronger over the years, as a result of my own experiences in theatre.
You don’t have to go to London or New York to see a great show. Some of the most exciting, talented and passionate artists in theatre today – the ones who will be shaping the next generations of theatre – are in your local areas and across the entire world. If more people simply went out for one night to the theatre to see a local production in their area, they’ll see exactly what I see: after thousands of years of existence, theatre remains the innovative and inclusive art forms in the history of the world. It is exactly the reason why I love theatre, and why I believe everyone else should too.
Photo: Chad Batka