Dear Theatre, You Complete Me

Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre

Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre

Cristina D'Almeida

It’s kind of hard to articulate my relationship with art and theatre. I’ve had so many conversations with people through the years on what it actually means to me and how it makes me feel and it’s a subject I can talk about endlessly. Theatre touches something deep within me, and that happens whether I’m working on a show or am an audience member watching one. Just being around art, in all forms, is a satisfying experience for me.

The creative drive that all of us have, more so than others, is something you have to reach down within and grab. I’ve always been completely in tune with my creativity and have loved it. Back in grammar school, I would always gravitate more towards the art and music classes, rather than gym or athletics. I excelled in English while I would just make it by in Math. That’s just how it was and I didn’t mind. I knew these were early signs of something far greater and larger. I always loved the idea of having a blank page in front of me and being able to create whatever I wanted on it whether it was writing or a drawing or painting. I liked to be able to create. Later on, when theatre became a more prominent part of my life, I became totally immersed in it. I found the subject matters of each production I worked on to either be fully or partially relevant to my life and I liked to be able to add to that somehow, to contribute something.

Writing has also been an enormous part of my life. To be able to have the ability to write a film or a play or even poem or short story is something I’m really grateful for because I do believe it’s a gift from God. Tapping into that creativeness is something I find to be extremely satisfying. When you write something on a page, and then bring it to life on stage, it can be a really personal but beautiful thing. In some cases, to write your own feelings through another character is really just a way to express everything we can’t articulate. I know that’s how it is for me and many of my friends in the business.

Theatre took me into a therapeutic yet dark place of being able to be in touch with any demons, flaws or positive things about myself, but it also pulled me out of an even darker place. It serves as this safe setting that allows me to talk about things I can’t normally talk about outside of theatre. It gives me the luxury of watching stories that touch me in an emotional way. Because I’m able to do that, and I have that outlet, It’s easier for me to come to terms with a lot of my feelings. It’s really only in theatre, movies or books are we able to do that.

Being a part of theatre changed my life for the better. Not only is it a therapeutic experience because of its personal relevance to my life, it’s a safe place that has very few rules. It allows me to put all of my creative energy into something. It allows me to convey my thoughts, feelings and frustrations into something beautiful and real for other people to enjoy and relate to. I’ve learned that without the ability and opportunities to create, I wouldn’t be anywhere near happy in my life. I need to be able to do something with all of my energy and ideas rather than just keep everything all bottled up. That goes for all jobs and contributions to a show whether it’s directing or writing a piece, or something as simple as gathering props. I have to do something.

Theatre helped me through some of the most depressive and down points of my life. With the ability to bond with people in a strong way and be able to contribute to something so intimate, it put me in a completely better mindset in my life overall. I felt as though I was able to do something with all of these thoughts that would torture me day after day. That in itself is the best therapy and it absolutely saved me in a mental sense.

Art in all of its forms is by far one the most authentic and emotional things we have in this world. It is a direct expression of our feelings and I know that anyone who is a part of it once, will automatically be hooked. At least that’s the way I feel. I would be incomplete without it.