Last night a hundred or so largely self-identified 'theater nerds' gathered for a reunion of actors, directors, and backstage mavens who have cheerfully, roguishly, indominatably made Portland Actors Ensemble an outlet for "true community theater at its best"--in the words of Michael Cook, PAE's current Artistic Director--for 37 years. "37 years" doesn't necessarily mean much until you walk in the door and find that the theater folks milling around the room are circling in small grounds identified quickly by age, as at any high school reunion. There is an "old guard" from which the "mantle is passed" to the "new guard," which cheerfully replenishes itself every four or five years, as the ridiculously hard work of keeping together a non-profit theater company erodes the strengths of the current mantle-bearers. There was a lot of heart in the room. A lot of shaggy good will, eccentricity, dedication, and agreeably non-professional and non-careerist--i.e., downright anti-capitalist--love of... love of... love of PLAY in the room.
I found the spirit refreshing, a nurturing respite from living bound by the efficiencies in which we've hemmed our lives by trimming the excess from our ambitions, by which we've defined ourselves, good worker bees of the 21st-century that we are.