Let the Story Be Told

Jenn Butler

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

A number of things stood out to me while watching the Tony Awards on Sunday evening.  But what stood out for me the most was something that Thomas Kail said as part of his acceptance speech for Best Director of “Hamilton”.  

During his speech, he said,

‘So let’s continue to tell stories. What I have seen this season is that there are still stories to be told, and there are people who want to hear them.  Keep telling the stories.”

I can relate so well to this. It got me thinking about the very reason why I became involved with theater and wanted to start writing. I wanted to be a part of something bigger and more than anything I wanted to help tell a story. 

Each show that I have worked on has told a different story in a different way. I have created props such as Luisa’s mask for “The Fantasticks” and the TV remote that William Gillette used in “The Games Afoot”. The details had to be just right in order for the story to come to life, in both the way that it was written and the way that the director had envisioned it to be. I have learned that telling the story is more than just the big picture itself. Minor details are just as important in telling the story as the big picture is. You can’t just build the set; you need the props, costumes, lighting and sound to bring it all together. 

On Broadway each show tells a story. Some characters tell a story of themselves while other characters tell stories from a different viewpoint. Audiences that attend shows have specifically come to hear the story that is being told. They want to hear the next joke, they want to know what happens to the main character and they want to find out how the story will end. 

I discovered that a story can be found anywhere and that sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find one. For example, inside my vest that I wear for my day job, there is a printed story about the people who started the company many years ago and inside each person’s vest there is a different story. 

Mark Twain once said “The two most important days of your life, are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.  I recently discovered why I was put here on earth. I was born to tell stories. Some I tell with written words, and some I tell by bringing scenes to life on the stage.  All I know is that around every corner there is another story waiting to be told and when I find the next one, I will tell it.