Colville tribal member Faran Sohappy in The Grand Theatre.

There are three worlds in a narrative. 

There is the real world we sit in as the audience. There is the non-diegetic world, from which the narrator tells (filters) the story to us. Then there is the world in which the story is set, where the characters act.

I thought about this late last week meeting with Colville tribal member Faran Sohappy, who is opening up The Grand Theatre in Grand Coulee later this month.

After touring the facility, seeing the work he has done and the work he still had to do, Sohappy stood on the stage: “Somewhere down the road, I’m going to put this whole building to use... I don’t know why I so badly want to open it, but I do,” said Sohappy. “There’s even days, when I’m supposed to be home, that I just come and chill, think about things.”

He spoke with the energy of an entreprenuer, living with the stress of a financial risk.

Later, he would continue to say: “After awhile, I just couldn’t leave this place. One of the obvious reasons why is” - he beckoned from the stage to the 170 seats in the gallery and upstairs; many of the seats had been rescued from Spokane’s Fox Theatre during a remodel - this.”

I thought of the worlds of story, and I tried to figure out where a theatre owner fits. I thought of narrator’s ability to build a universe of potential for the rest of us to enjoy and marvel within; indirectly, a theatre owner does the same. 

The main difference between a narrator and a theatre owner is that financial risk. A narrator retells a narrative they already know. A theatre owner does not have that ability.

If Sohappy knew the end his story, the adrenaline of entreprenuership would not ring through his entire tone. There is real risk, financial risk. 

He’s in the real world, but it feels like one of imagination, I thought, that’s why Faran’s story is exciting. For this, I am grateful: Sohappy is allowing the rest of us a place for stories to occur, a place for us to use our creativity, a place to access world’s beyond our own - and it’s his dream - and he’s taking the risk for us.

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