I saw a stunningly good play a while back – The Buddy Holly Story at the Chemainus Theatre. Everything about it was exceptional – the acting, the singing, the entire production. It’s playing through early April; if you can get there, go. You won’t be disappointed.
The whole experience made me think about talent . . . about success . . . about what we value as a society.
There was Buddy Holly himself. I didn’t know much about him going in (other than the fact that he wrote Peggy Sue and he died young in a plane crash). I didn’t realize how hard he had to work to gain recognition for his ‘new’ kind of music. He refused to let society beat his talent down.
The performers also made me think. To say they were good is an understatement. The level of talent was up there with anything I’ve seen in London’s West End or on Broadway. And yet this show is running in a 275 seat theatre in a town of 4,000 located on an insignificant island in the Pacific Northwest. It will make only a tiny blip on the arts scene – a small success by our cultural standards.
We don’t celebrate small (Unless it’s the numbers of the scale). We celebrate big and we chase it too. Actors want their performances to find the widest possible audiences; they dream of movie deals and coveted awards. Writers do too (and anyone who denies it is lying).
Dreams are great things to have. So is ambition and drive. Without it I’d be on the couch clicking between HGTV and the Food Network and I’d probably never write another book. But it seems to me we’re so intent on celebrating those big successes – the famous runs – that we sometimes forget to appreciate the small ones.
Small can be good. Small can be beautiful. Small can represent a large amount of talent. Go to Chemainus. Watch Buddy Holly. You’ll see what I mean.