You know greatness when you see it. It crackles. It tickles. It warms. It replenishes.
If you’re very lucky, you can be present when it sparks. Greatness doesn’t know itself, at least not at the beginning. It doesn’t know what it will become. Greatness can’t always see itself, oftentimes because greatness doesn't look in a mirror. Greatness looks forward to what’s next.
Last night I was honored to be part of a moment of greatness. A group of artists formed a theatre company and survived a pandemic. With no real resources they found four short plays – one being one of mine – and rehearsed them. They rigged some basic light cues, that surprised and delighted. They moved some furniture around and invited an audience over two nights to come to a small north side Chicago apartment and share their greatness.
Over the years I’ve seen some truly great moments in theatre. Now I count last night was one of them. There was nothing but pure joy in that tiny apartment. It was a moment that will never come again, and I have a little pity for those people who are never lucky enough to know a moment like it. The handful of people who put that evening together are going places. They may move forward and become the next great theatre company of Chicago. They may disband and achieve greatness as individuals – in the arts or in other ways. But for a little more than hour, for ten very, very lucky audience members, they shared their budding greatness. It crackled. It tickled. It warmed. It replenished.
And I was there.