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     I live in a city with an amazing cultural scene: opera, theatre, fine dining, live music, comedy, concerts, world class museums, architecture, sports teams in every sport and a host of tourist attractions that fuel the city’s thriving convention and tourism industry. It’s an exhausting list of things to do. If you think about doing it, you can find it to do here.

     Every summer, the city attracts thousands of tourists to its lakefront events, many of them free, including outdoor dance lessons, yoga and movies in the park. The event planners routinely book talent to draw a crowd, and the larger festivals include top musical talent. A supporter of the Arts, I treat myself to a theatrical experience at least once each quarter. I usually take in a Tony Award winning musical, play or visit the Opera. When I attend the theatre, my goal is to be seated on the first floor orchestra-center, close enough to the stage to observe the microphones taped beneath the performers’ wigs. This means that my preferred seating preference is no further back than row 15. If I can’t source “good seats” I don’t attend. Some might call me a theatre snob. Yes, my seating preference carries a premium ticket purchase price; however, since my schedule only allows me to indulge my theatre appetite once each quarter, I don’t mind paying the premium ticket price. My theatre and concert seating preference has been transferred to my children, because when I purchase tickets for family excursions, I follow my “good seat” rule, so my children have never sat further back than row 15.

    

     A while back, I tried to coordinate a group theatre outing with some friends, and it proved stressful. Many in the group shared that they prefer to sit in the balcony so that they can look down on the stage. That’s a choice. Not one that I understand, but a choice nonetheless. Someone else in the group balked at the more expensive ticket price for my main floor seating appetite. I am uncompromising when it comes to my live theatre experience seating, so I suggested that we purchase our seats separately, which we did.

     My last three cultural excursions were attended unaccompanied. My schedule is very hectic, and the planning required to coordinate an outing with someone else’s busy schedule simply adds to my life stress. Who needs that? Besides, I thoroughly appreciate the pleasure that is my own company. I overcame the fear of attending theatre events alone years ago. I don’t remember what precipitated my maiden, solo movie venture, but since that first solo experience I don’t hesitate to purchase a ticket for one.

     My rationale is that at the theatre or cinema you aren’t supposed to speak during the performance anyway, so for me, attending a performance alone is no big deal. At the end of the performance, I sometimes miss discussing the experience with someone; however, that doesn’t stop me from attending alone. While waiting for a performance to start, after skimming the Playbill, I usually look around and observe the theatre’s layout to ensure that I know where the emergency exits are. I admire the theatre’s beauty, glancing up at the balcony wondering why anyone would prefer to sit that far from the live action.

     Years ago, I analogized that life is like the theatre, and we are each actors in the play that is our life. Sometimes we are stars in our own melodramas, and other times we are supporting actors in our melodrama while someone else has the lead role. Some people in our lives have orchestra level seating while others have balcony seating. In an actual theatre experience, you cannot swap seats. Once you purchase your ticket, you are bound to that seat, unless you can convince someone to trade with you, which is rare. However, in real life theatre, friends and family members often swap seats.

     There are some people in my life who hold orchestra level, center stage seating complete with backstage VIP dressing room access to my performances. There are people who once had orchestra level, premium seats in my life but are now seated in row ZZ or the first row balcony of my theatre. Still, there are others who are and have always been in the balcony, and some who were in the balcony who have upgraded to orchestra level seating with backstage access, but not dressing room access. Finally, there are some who once had mezzanine quality seating who are now relegated to the lobby, trying to scalp tickets to the show. This is a natural rotation and is part of the circle of life. I have been blessed to live in three different states as an adult, and have met amazing friends and acquaintances on each sojourn. Some of my experiences were for a “season” and others I know will be for the duration of my life’s play. When I invite people into my life theatre, they are usually assigned a seat pretty quickly, and the seating arrangements are changed as the relationship evolves. Just as I have moved my audience members’ seats, I am certain that my seat has been shifted in the theatre of others’ lives.

      I find it healthy and therapeutic to inventory my clothes, shoes and relationships periodically. An avid yogi, one of my favorite yoga teachers encourages the class to “inhale light, life and goodness and exhale anything that no longer suits you.” If an item can’t be rehabilitated or repurposed, I donate it or discard it.

     The characters in the Black Diamond Series understand this concept well. The girls in Boys, Beauty & Betrayal are in their early teens, and by Sunshine on Sunday, the fifth book in the series, the characters are young adults, and the seating arrangement of their life’s theatre has experienced shifts. In Love, Secrets & Pearls, the sixth book in the Black Diamond Series, the characters fully appreciate the blessing of true friendship, the heartache of loss, and the pleasure that is their own company. They possess the courage to purchase a premium ticket for one, and the confidence to rotate the audience members’ seats in their life theatre without apology.

     As the stage director of your Tony award winning melodrama, may you possess similar courage and confidence, and be unapologetically uncompromising in your life’s choices.

User Rating: 5 / 5

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     I live in a city with an amazing cultural scene: opera, theatre, fine dining, live music, comedy, concerts, world class museums, architecture, sports teams in every sport and a host of tourist attractions that fuel the city’s thriving convention and tourism industry. It’s an exhausting list of things to do. If you think about doing it, you can find it to do here.

     Every summer, the city attracts thousands of tourists to its lakefront events, many of them free, including outdoor dance lessons, yoga and movies in the park. The event planners routinely book talent to draw a crowd, and the larger festivals include top musical talent. A supporter of the Arts, I treat myself to a theatrical experience at least once each quarter. I usually take in a Tony Award winning musical, play or visit the Opera. When I attend the theatre, my goal is to be seated on the first floor orchestra-center, close enough to the stage to observe the microphones taped beneath the performers’ wigs. This means that my preferred seating preference is no further back than row 15. If I can’t source “good seats” I don’t attend. Some might call me a theatre snob. Yes, my seating preference carries a premium ticket purchase price; however, since my schedule only allows me to indulge my theatre appetite once each quarter, I don’t mind paying the premium ticket price. My theatre and concert seating preference has been transferred to my children, because when I purchase tickets for family excursions, I follow my “good seat” rule, so my children have never sat further back than row 15.

    

     A while back, I tried to coordinate a group theatre outing with some friends, and it proved stressful. Many in the group shared that they prefer to sit in the balcony so that they can look down on the stage. That’s a choice. Not one that I understand, but a choice nonetheless. Someone else in the group balked at the more expensive ticket price for my main floor seating appetite. I am uncompromising when it comes to my live theatre experience seating, so I suggested that we purchase our seats separately, which we did.

     My last three cultural excursions were attended unaccompanied. My schedule is very hectic, and the planning required to coordinate an outing with someone else’s busy schedule simply adds to my life stress. Who needs that? Besides, I thoroughly appreciate the pleasure that is my own company. I overcame the fear of attending theatre events alone years ago. I don’t remember what precipitated my maiden, solo movie venture, but since that first solo experience I don’t hesitate to purchase a ticket for one.

     My rationale is that at the theatre or cinema you aren’t supposed to speak during the performance anyway, so for me, attending a performance alone is no big deal. At the end of the performance, I sometimes miss discussing the experience with someone; however, that doesn’t stop me from attending alone. While waiting for a performance to start, after skimming the Playbill, I usually look around and observe the theatre’s layout to ensure that I know where the emergency exits are. I admire the theatre’s beauty, glancing up at the balcony wondering why anyone would prefer to sit that far from the live action.

     Years ago, I analogized that life is like the theatre, and we are each actors in the play that is our life. Sometimes we are stars in our own melodramas, and other times we are supporting actors in our melodrama while someone else has the lead role. Some people in our lives have orchestra level seating while others have balcony seating. In an actual theatre experience, you cannot swap seats. Once you purchase your ticket, you are bound to that seat, unless you can convince someone to trade with you, which is rare. However, in real life theatre, friends and family members often swap seats.

     There are some people in my life who hold orchestra level, center stage seating complete with backstage VIP dressing room access to my performances. There are people who once had orchestra level, premium seats in my life but are now seated in row ZZ or the first row balcony of my theatre. Still, there are others who are and have always been in the balcony, and some who were in the balcony who have upgraded to orchestra level seating with backstage access, but not dressing room access. Finally, there are some who once had mezzanine quality seating who are now relegated to the lobby, trying to scalp tickets to the show. This is a natural rotation and is part of the circle of life. I have been blessed to live in three different states as an adult, and have met amazing friends and acquaintances on each sojourn. Some of my experiences were for a “season” and others I know will be for the duration of my life’s play. When I invite people into my life theatre, they are usually assigned a seat pretty quickly, and the seating arrangements are changed as the relationship evolves. Just as I have moved my audience members’ seats, I am certain that my seat has been shifted in the theatre of others’ lives.

      I find it healthy and therapeutic to inventory my clothes, shoes and relationships periodically. An avid yogi, one of my favorite yoga teachers encourages the class to “inhale light, life and goodness and exhale anything that no longer suits you.” If an item can’t be rehabilitated or repurposed, I donate it or discard it.

     The characters in the Black Diamond Series understand this concept well. The girls in Boys, Beauty & Betrayal are in their early teens, and by Sunshine on Sunday, the fifth book in the series, the characters are young adults, and the seating arrangement of their life’s theatre has experienced shifts. In Love, Secrets & Pearls, the sixth book in the Black Diamond Series, the characters fully appreciate the blessing of true friendship, the heartache of loss, and the pleasure that is their own company. They possess the courage to purchase a premium ticket for one, and the confidence to rotate the audience members’ seats in their life theatre without apology.

     As the stage director of your Tony award winning melodrama, may you possess similar courage and confidence, and be unapologetically uncompromising in your life’s choices.