Actor: Toni Ryan
I can barely breathe. My body feels weak, the last 10 minutes drained me both emotionally and physically. I carry the weight of myself, my emotions, and theirs. I walk down the aisle leaving the body of my friend and fellow actor Luisa to struggle. I don’t look back. I hold back the tears that always threaten to spill with that poetry. I go to the booth and am immediately surrounded by the support of our LPAC team and fellow actors. I take myself out of the moment but as soon as I do I notice shouting. I hear the yelling of a young woman. She is crying. I wonder what’s going on. I hear Steven and Carmen say that people are on stage grabbing Luisa. I am still out of it and in my concern I run out to try to reach her. As if by design I am pushed by a sea of bodies. All trying to stop me and tell me their stories. Tell me how they felt about the performance and ask me questions. Yet all I want is to make it to Luisa and make sure she is ok. I am stopped by a theater critic she wants my opinion and she wants to know the same thing they all do… why didn’t we bow? Why wasn’t there a curtain call? “Because it’s not about us” I say “It’s about the story. It’s about all those who have struggled and are still struggling to this day”. I realize with this breathtaking experience that we are so lucky! We can go to a place where the artists can’t speak for themselves yet we can give them the outlet they need. We touched everyone in that room and through all the tears, the walkouts, the screaming and anger. We made an impact I wish I was still there in that moment in the sea of bodies who needed this show the most.