Much has been said and written about the magic of the stage... that fabulous fusion that happens when you add lights and costumes and sets and sound to the work the actors have been doing on a bare and dusty stage for weeks. There's no doubt that it's exciting.
But often there's a kind of magic that happens for the actors in the dressing room. Suddenly, after weeks of rehearsals where there is a bit of chit chat before and after being on stage, where actors who aren't on sit quietly backstage or in the house looking over lines or reading books or occasionally in whispered conversations... suddenly, they are in a dressing room together for an hour or so each night before performance. There's hair to be done and make up to apply and bonding to occur. It's when you find out about the quiet people in your cast. It's when you find out a LOT about the not so quiet people in your cast. Jokes are told and laughs are shared and hardships are commiserated.
Occasionally a cast will manage to create cohesion during the rehearsal process. But far more often it happens under the bright lights of a makeup mirror, as everyone prepares to work together to pull this thing off. And even if you have a small part, you suddenly feel like a vital part of the show.