One of the things I experience, and something I see in other people, is a sense of freedom when they are free enough and open enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable. In our culture we’re frequently so tied down and we have so many restrictions on how we’re supposed to be or should be, or things we can do or can’t do. The arts, at its purest, unbuckles some of those things to allow different parts of us to show itself, parts that sometimes we don’t want to show, the negative part, the sensitive part, the shy part, the ugly part, the happy part... It’s a means of healing. The arts allow us to explore each one of these areas. Its transference from the artist to the audience allows the audience to share the same type of experience. This can be something physical but it can also be something emotional, but more importantly, it can be something intellectual. I have this idea that when the lights go down, minds open up. We’re sitting in the dark, not being watched, something is happening on stage, and we’re reacting to what’s happening. We’re focused on the stage. Sometimes it can make you think, “Hmm. I never thought about it from that point of view” or “Oh, no that person is wrong.” You’re having this conversation with yourself, but in some ways you’re having a conversation with the artist too.
Thomas Robert Simpson
Founder and Artistic Director of the AfroSolo Theater Company