preface from 24 July 2017: My heart breaks this morning. It breaks for Robyn, of course, but it also breaks for all who loved her. She was my friend, my foil, my wife, the mother of my daughter, and, briefly, my antagonist. Ultimately, she was a cherished friend and a phenomenal talent, and she left indelible marks on my heart.
I hope I’m in the right church…
I have to wonder…
Years ago, when people might enquire after our religion, or in what faith we were raising our daughter, Robyn would as likely as not beat me to the punch — thereby sparing the world yet another episode of didactic tedium — and brightly chirp, “We’re Thespians!”
How right she was.
I think we all build churches — the Sikhs, the Sunni, and the Secular alike. Most of us have some need to gather with those of like mind, so we build churches for fellowship, to share our lives and to mark our milestones, to promote our heritage, and to celebrate our community with pageantry and poetry. To tell stories of life, and struggle, and meaning.
We are also all flawed and unfinished, so we build churches for instruction, and we call them temples, or mosques, or libraries…
Robi loved the theatre. She loved the drama, she loved the language, she loved the costumes and the set design and even the set construction. She was never so happy as when she was spattered with paint.
She loved the camaraderie of the collective creation — taking the author’s words and giving them the actors’ voices and the director’s vision and bringing them to life in the minds of the audience.
In the faithful attendance of our religious duties (a.k.a. “rehearsals”) we always put the work before the fun, and we ALWAYS had a LOT of fun!
We made worlds together, night after night (plus Sunday matinees!), and it is as close to working magic as I’ve ever come.
So we build churches for fun, too!
We build churches for fellowship.
We build churches for instruction.
We build churches for fun, and we build churches to reaffirm our faith and to bolster our guiding principles —
Do your part.
Respect the persons and property of others.
Keep your promises.
Toward these ends, said Robyn, the theatre serves as well as any other proper church. Of course, in the House of Thespos, we say it a little differently, but the universal wisdom still shines through —
Learn your lines.
Keep your grubby mitts off the prop table!
And… The Show Must Go On!
Also, in OUR church, when God (a.k.a. “The Director”) speaks, we either obey, or we’re outta the show!
So… the right church?
I should think so!
This church isn’t the boards or the bricks.
It’s the gathering of celebrants confessing their creed.
The theatre isn’t the venue, it’s us!
The audience, the players, the ushers, the house…
The temple isn’t built with sticks or steel.
It’s a house of human hearts, and Robyn’s heart beats strong today, inside of all of us who’ve gathered here.
(presented 9 September 2017, Ashland, Oregon, usa)
update 180116: I am not the worst singer in the world. The odds are too steep against it, what with seven billions of us. However, I am accustomed to being the worst singer in the room. Nevertheless, after delivering the touching testimonial above, I led the gathering in a rendition of what Drama Queen once called “our church’s most sacred hymn,” There’s No Business like Show Business, by Saint Irving Berlin.
I should probably also point out that Busy Body was in attendance that day, too. My Former Arch-Nemeses were never rivals, never foes. Never pals, either, but they were respectful of and sympathetic towards each other, both understanding the trials of Life with Lehr
(the follow-up sitcom to I Loathe Larry).