Why I’m a Member

15716_599673563436_4461455_nBy Damaris Montalvo

This year, The Theatre @ Boston Court is celebrating its 10th season! This milestone made me realize that this is now my fourth season as a member. It’s pretty surreal to think about the impact Boston Court has made in my life. No, seriously, it has. It’s weird.

You see, I’ve seen the marquis outside the theatre on my way to work every day for the past five years. And it’s possible I could’ve continued to see it without doing anything about it if it hadn’t been for a coworker of mine. In 2009, after expressing our mutual love for Shakespeare and bonding forever in nerdom, my friend mentioned he’d read that Boston Court was putting on a “punk rock version of Hamlet.” Intrigued, we gave it a shot and bought tickets for God Save Gertrude.

15716_599675115326_7899709_nAt the time, buying a play ticket felt so … adult-like. You see, prior to that, my theatre-going experience consisted of student-priced (re: cheap) university productions or big, expensive productions that were parent-funded. I think that for an entire year it hadn’t even occurred to me to explore Boston Court because I assumed that all good theatre could only cost outrageous amount of money and that my entry-level salary could never afford such a luxury.

Boy, was I wrong.

The Theatre @ Boston Court introduced me to the beauty and wonder that are 99-seat theatres in Los Angeles. Boston Court showed me that “expensive” does not equal “good.” Actually, let’s take “good” out the equation, as the word is inherently subjective. Let’s use adjectives like “edgy,” “fearless,” and “thought-provoking” instead. While some theatregoers look to escape reality and retreat into worlds of choreographed song and dance, I enjoy theatre that’s going to knock me off my seat and haunt me in my sleep. I love the intellectual stimulation of a play that’s going to challenge me – that’s going to make me think and question things about myself. And I love it even more when I don’t need my dad’s financial assistance to access such an experience.  So from the first time Michael Seel invited me to come to the edge of my seat, lean in, and enjoy … I did.

It was with Oedipus El Rey that I really became hooked and bought a membership. My friend and I caught Oedipus at the very end of the run and savored every second of that production. Then, much to our surprise, there was complementary wine after the show. We didn’t know yet that Boston Court threw a Late Night Salon on Fridays – we just picked the day that worked for us – and it was wonderful to meet the cast, the crew and the staff over a glass of wine. When 15716_599673792976_958030_nwe thanked Leandro Cano for his vicious performance of Laius, he let us know that the play was actually going to extend for another two weeks!

This news was more delicious than the wine. We couldn’t wait to see it again! The play was so content-rich that we needed a second viewing to fully absorb it. But in two weeks, we actually saw the show five times. Every performance was different. In live theatre, not every line is delivered the exact same way, and it’s wonderful to appreciate the subtleties and slight differences from one performance to the next. By the end of the run, the cast and staff felt like mi familia. We’d gotten to meet them all and had such engaging post-show conversations that they all knew us. And every time we saw it again, we felt deeply appreciated; everyone expressed their gratitude for our support, while we felt like the ones who had gained so much.

As a parting gift, Leandro Cano actually got us two copies of Luis Alfaro’s script signed by the cast, crew and staff. It was one of the most touching gifts I have ever received.

And play after play, Boston Court continues to deliver quality theatre – theatre that not only makes me laugh and cry, but that makes me reflect on my own dreams and desires, my fears, my perceived notions and preconceptions … my own humanity.

Not only am I a member, but I’ve influenced three of my loved ones to become 15716_599674736086_3319086_nmembers, too. And at every Livewired performance, we try to fill up the whole front row, bringing about 15 of our closest friends every time.

It’s through Boston Court that I’ve gotten to travel all over Southern California, following actors to shows everywhere from Ojai to San Diego. T@BC is so good at spotting talent, that when we fall in love with someone’s acting, we follow them on the various social media outlets to attend their next play. That’s how we’ve gotten to know many of the other 99-seat theatres in the LA area. In fact, we’re members/regulars of two other play companies, and my life now consists of seeing about three shows a week. Yes, a week. And no, I’m not in theatre. I don’t have family in theatre, I’m not a critic, and I don’t work in the industry.

I just love it.

And I will be forever grateful to Boston Court for introducing me to this world. So to Boston Court: Happy 10th Birthday. And may you continue stirring things up for years to come!

**

Dama is a marketing professional who helps identify opportunities for nonprofit organizations, developing fundraising strategies to grow their programs and pursue their admirable causes. She has been a proud and happy member of The Theatre @ Boston Court since 2010.

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