I rarely feel like Superman. Ok, let’s be honest. I never feel like wearing tights and a red cape, leaping off tall buildings or stopping runaway trains with my bare hands.
In my ordinary Clark Kent life, I’m just a playwright. I put words on a page, I move them around, I try to decide between a period or a question mark. I create characters with issues, I don’t have the issues myself. I create characters of strengths and weaknesses that I can only imagine.
Not exactly superhero stuff. But sometimes the material I create takes on super strength. The metaphorical power of theatre, the ability to use theatre for good can be overwhelming. It can leap tall buildings. It can allow people to throw on tights and a red cape and stop a train. I guess that makes me the enthusiastic sidekick. The happy supporter of my material and those who use it.
I am the sidekick to the teenager who read a monologue from Tick Talk, who then went to his teacher and said, “I thought I was the only one who felt like this. I thought I was alone. This makes me feel, that it’s ok to feel this way. That I might get through it.”
I am the sidekick to the IB class from Sebastian River High School who formed an organization called ‘Art for All.’ Senior Jeffrey Liguori told me about their performance project where they performed the plays from Ten/Two with special needs students. In each play there was one senior, and one special needs student. Most of these students had no theatrical experience. They performed the plays as a fundraiser and the project worked so well, they’re doing it again.
I am the sidekick to the 12-year-old who came to my Beginner’s playwriting workshop and then stayed for the Advanced workshop. Or the teenager who came to my playwriting workshop at FTC, who hasn’t written a play since grade eight and has started something.
Sometimes, there’s really no better position to be in than the sidekick…