World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). Each year someone is chosen to reflect on the worldwide importance theatre and a culture of peace. The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962. This year’s message was written by Anatoly Vassiliev. The full message is here:
Here’s an excerpt:
To hell with gadgets and computers – just go to the theatre, occupy whole rows in the stalls and in the galleries, listen to the word and look at living images! – it is theatre in front of you, do not neglect it and do not miss a chance to participate in it – perhaps the most precious chance we share in our vain and hurried lives.
Indeed. Television, movies, internet, etc. cannot match the power of living theater. Despite all manner of technological innovations, live theater will not die because the power to connect person to person is immortal. It is also international.
I first started acting in South Australia at the age of 11 and was immediately hooked. Despite professional conflicts, I’ve found the time to act, write, or direct most of my life. I’ve also witnessed theater in a great array of forms worldwide. Here’s my head shot from the time I acted with the Beaconsfield New Theatre Group:
My first and favorite part with them was as Stanislas, the revolutionary young poet/assassin in Cocteau’s An Eagle with Two Heads. The immense challenge of this part is that Stanislas enters, bleeding and fainting, in the first act and remains mute on stage for the rest of the act whilst the queen pleads with him, berates him, toys with him in a torrent of words – all of which he endures without uttering a word. There’s a palpable frisson of release in the audience when he first speaks in the second act. I had my first stage kiss in this part too.
If I had to recount the various forms of theater I’ve witnessed or taken part in, I’d be writing all day. Here’s a sample gallery instead:
Cast parties after opening night are always wonderful. I’ve been to no end of them, but the first always remains imprinted in memory because it was the first time I had steak tartare (as well as a glass of red wine, which my mother was none too pleased to hear about the day after – I was only 11). Steak tartare is easy to make. The main issue is that you need the very freshest ground sirloin. Because the beef is served raw there’s no room for error here.**
Make sure your butcher knows what the meat is for, have him grind it fresh on the day you are serving it, and keep it refrigerated until then. Make sure the meat is very lean. Serve the beef on individual platters to guests with a whole raw egg yolk on top, and a side plate of toasted French bread slices. The garnishes to serve alongside the beef are your choice, but chopped cornichons, shallots, and capers are standard. You should also provide salt and a pepper mill. Guests mix the meat with the yolk and garnishes to their taste and eat it heaped on the toast.
** Be aware of the health risks of eating raw animal products. I still eat raw eggs, meat, and fish, but I no longer serve them to guests.