Because we drove to New Haven, we decided not to tear out of town when the conference was over, as we usually do, but wait till Sunday and take the day to drive back. Because of this, we had an evening free. Not something that usually happens when we’re out of town!
The Drama School at Yale, has a cabaret space that is just for Yale students. A little basement black box with maybe a hundred seats where they do three shows over a weekend and the shows are only an hour long. On Saturday we saw “Run, Mourner, Run” adapted by Tarell McCraney.
The website describes the space as “a theatrical laboratory that frees young artists at the Yale School of Drama to explore their deepest dramatic passions.” I like that that is available to drama students. That it’s not just the big shows, that there is a place for the small ones.
We go to a lot of conferences and see a lot of schools. Invariably, the pictures show students in huge shows, with huge sets and immaculate costuming. It’s all very big. Except that is not what theatre is about, really. It’s about sitting in a basement when the actors are right in front of your face and there’s no space for a set and all they are doing is acting. And the acting is so good that you forget for a little bit and in your head you start rooting for the characters. Hoping the play will go a certain way, even though you know deep down it’s destined for an unhappy ending. And then when it does end unhappily you feel heart sore.
That to me is theatre. And that’s what we saw.