Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Today's PROMPTuesday:

This week, tell us who you are, what’s inside, where you’re from. Share your memory fragments, those visions in your head, those figments that make you, you. What bits and pieces formed your whole? Are you whole? Tell us.

I am backstage, in show-biz, in the business. I am not the audience, I can never be in the audience again, ever in my life. Even when sitting in the auditorium, I look into the wings, past the sightlines, craning my neck to look around in my seat for the sound engineer, the lighting booth. I am in the orchestra pit, picking up the drummer's coffee cup.

I have been the one who walks out to move the piano in place. The one who adjusts the microphone. One of the ones who come, in black clothes, in the dark, who bend and unlock the wheels, and roll the drum platform off stage.

I can't help but see the stagehands during the set change. It's as if little white batons were moving around the darkened stage - stagehands in black with their folded instruction sheets sticking out of their back pockets.

I feel my teeth grit, holding the knurled shaft of the mini-maglite in my mouth, to use both hands while checking scenery hardware in a blackout.

I am on the bandstand listening to the playback in the monitors. I am on headset, hearing my cues called. I check the shutter-cuts for the front-of-house wash, and tsk tsk if they spill onto the portal.

I hear the buzzing radio on the hip of the security guard. I see the unobtrusive person in black jeans and polo shirt, shouldering his way through the crowd in the lobby, and I know that he is going up to the spotlight booth. I can tell who the building manager is, I know what software the parking lot machinery uses. I can tell whether the intermission concessionaire is getting slammed, or if they are doing okay. I see the Fire Marshal, quietly lurking in the aisle.

When I visit a town I can spot a theatre building, whether it's closed or vacant, or even remodeled into a Barnes and Noble bookstore. The contour of the building alone clues me in.

Once you work in the theatre, the audience is closed to you. You are always backstage.


Jason, as himself said...

Outstanding post, as usual.

And I loved your comments over at Cheri's blog. You're the best.

suesueb said...

loved reading this-so interesting. also enjoyed the "hollywood blvd" post-it must have been so fun!! thanks for the visit!!

San Diego Momma said...

I really love seeing the theatre from your perspective.

There's so many people who make a production happen, but the audience tends to forget them in the thrill of the play unfolding.

You described the backstage-ness beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Totally with SDM -- what amazing perspective you give. Love it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the comments on my blog, by the way...much appreciated. :) also, great post! there is always something pulling you once you know what goes on "behind the scenes."

tinsenpup said...

You really brought that experience to life. I am delighted by where the prompt took you.

And you really do leave the best comments. :)

JCK said...

Loved the last couple of lines, especially!