Last night I saw this incredible play. It was incredible for a lot of reasons, from outstanding actors to an intimate theatre to getting to see Ethan Hawke's butt. None of these things are what I am writing about.
The actors made an incredible connection with the audience. The play documents the downward spiral of people, together and apart. It is a hard ride to take people on, and it was flawless and compassionate and horrible all tied up together, much like real life. After almost three hours the lights went down and then went up again. As the eight actors came back onto the stage, everyone fell to their feet. Seriously. Fell upwards. I've seen (and been a part of) standing ovations before, but this was something different. No one was checking to see what the rest of the audience was doing, or trying to put down their purse, or waiting a decent amount of time. They came out and we were on our feet in a jumble. Saying thank you for this moment, for your effort, for a little bit of humanity. It was an incredible rush of pure feeling, not troubled by everyday schemings and measured response. In that moment, I was grateful for the world, for art, and for people doing what they love. A wordless wow of appreciation. I think maybe this is what awe is.