Once again, and not for the last time, I’m lining up in a darkened hallway that runs along side the elevated audience at the theater. Looking forward, the silhouettes of my co-performers are illuminated by the stage lights. The play has started and our entrance moments away. I say nothing in this scene aside from mouthing nonsense to another, a faux conversation that will add to the background of the real action.
The story we are telling has been told millions of times by now, in countless ways and endless costume changes. But this one is unique, this one is ours. This semblance of people, actors from different backgrounds, with different ways about each other.
We are a random bunch, who just so happened to be in the same place at the same time with the same interests, on the days leading up to and then the day of our auditions. All chosen for one reason or another, we calm our nerves with whatever it takes. The play is Much Ado About Nothing, but the moments we’ve spent rehearsing, running lines, blocking, stage building, grabbing beer after, it’s all more than that. It’s a sudden, brief, complicated and infinite relationship gained out of dedication and giving ourselves over to the randomness of those we’ve been chosen to work with.
That was back in March of this year, and I miss it. Conflicting schedules means I haven’t been able to audition for another show, and more importantly, I find myself unavailable for the upcoming performance at a “Shakespeare in The Park” event.
I keep in touch, in my own way. Facebook and all that, but there’s nothing like that feeling. In costume, on an old couch in the green room. Snacks on the table, stories and jokes being told, debates being had. And the countdown. The stage directors popping their heads in to get us ready, eliciting a response which results in a back and forth poem of sorts.
“20 minutes till places” says they…
“Thank you 20” sings we in response.
And then the moment happens, the words are spoken, conversations are wrapped or saved for later, and heads get focused.
“Thank you places!”