I’m about to make a new notch on my own personal timeline — the big 4-0.
I love that I’m turning 40 when our theatre is filled with the energy of a bunch of History Boys – in a show set in the 80s, when I was a high school girl.
In 1987, I dreamed of Broadway. I loved musicals. I had big hair. I would not have imagined myself a founding member of a company that produced plays inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. But I chose Chicago over New York, stuff happened, and 12 years ago TimeLine was born.
What does it mean to have spent the last 12 years as a company member here? So much. Our mission changed my direction as a person – though it certainly didn’t happen overnight. Being an actor means that you look at humanity more closely, you put yourself in the shoes of another, you try to look at 360 degrees of a character. Being a TimeLine Company member has pushed me to do the same with the world as it unfolds around me – I ask more questions, I seek illumination where there is murkiness, I ask why a story is important to share with an audience at this particular time. It means I question why so many stories and perspectives remain untold and unearthed, and push myself and our company to find a way to tell them. It means I have reconsidered or see another side to an issue because a play, or a conversation sparked by a play, challenged me to do that. And because theatre is a community art like no other, I don’t have to ask those questions alone. I can ask, argue, wonder and engage with my fellow Company members, with our associate artists and especially with our audience.
So, as I turn into the next decade of my life, and reflect on the last 10 years – years that have been filled with wondering and wonderment, engagement and uncertainty, questions and arguments, and especially community, I find myself here: I still love musicals, I still have (relatively) big hair, and I’m unspeakably grateful that I am still growing up with TimeLine.
Juliet Hart is a founding Company member of TimeLine. Today is her birthday.