Reflections and Respect - A note from the Editor

by Michael Eddy

Fall always makes me a bit reflective, assessing where things are at as they start to get back underway from the ‘lazy days’ of summer (a term coined by someone who has never done summer stock, obviously!). I was recently thinking about the fact that SD is 30 years old this year, which is almost as long as I’ve been married and five years younger than my professional career in theater. Things have changed over the past three decades, yet much has stayed the same. One of the things that I love about theater is that we have our traditions, our seasons, a shared way of working; yet we adapt and change over time. As technologies are created to improve our lives, much of what we do in theater is still created in similar manners and methods, just with better tools and processes. 

When a creative team works together to create a new work, they all mesh their talents and skills together to create the world of a production. A technical team takes that shared vision and makes it a reality on stage by working together. What usually shines through on a successful production is the respect and care for that creative idea; for each other, and for the work itself. 

One thing that I have learned over my years in theater, is that theater makers have a lot of superstitions and theatrical lore. One of those that we hold sacred—for both its practical purpose as well as its more superstitious one—is the ghost light. That common love of this symbol of our industry has also earned a place in our shared theatrical experiences as a guiding light, a beacon of hope as it has come to take on the role of representing the respect we share for each other.

The Ghostlight Project was created last year by theater artists to “create a light” and pledged to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It is a fitting use of the symbol because for the most part I believe that as a community, theater makers treat each other as respected colleagues who encourage and support each other with a shared goal of creating art; thoughtful, funny, sad, provoking, and affecting to audiences.

Another very appropriate use of the ghost light symbol is The Behind the Scenes charity, whose tag line is “Don’t Leave Your Colleagues in the Dark”. The Behind the Scenes charity provides financial support to entertainment technology industry professionals who are seriously ill or injured or to their surviving family members. Behind the Scenes brings help and hope in times of great need.  

Both programs are a reminder we have so much more in common as people than the divisive ideas that at times might make us lose sight of the long tradition of being a community in theater.