A Living Fantasy

November 21, 2007
I cross the stage, seemingly alone amidst my peers. A solitary gunslinger in a world long forgotten. The glaring work lights pulse rhythmically behind me, reminding me of a hot desert sun ruthlessly beating down upon the dusty ground. I’m headed for the costume room. It is my living fantasy. The stage and surrounding areas. It’s the place where certainty merges with imagination and where dreams really do come true. It’s a vibrant realm of fiction and fantasy where truth and disbelief meet the Grim Reaper. This is where the fabric of reality bends and the world of the unknown comes into play.

I continue my trek across the barren stage. The floor boards give exaggerated groans as I walk across. They complain about my constant visits and I shake my head. The floor boards always have something to complain about. I walk between the towering black curtains. They loom above me like the remains of an ancient civilization.

I make it to the other side of the stage and I stop at the bottom of the wooden, paint splattered stairs and look up at the chipped black walls and I can’t help but smile at their ability to beckon me. They seem to say, “Come, come on up. Come up and see the wonders for yourself.” I give into their call, flip on the lights and make my ascent, skipping the tattle-tale middle section. The section that gives you away with its loud shrieks and screams.

I make it to the top and turn. To my left stands a brightly colored toadstool drowned in the menacing shadow of a wooden gallow. Gray panels loom to my right, like the sinister, unfriendly skyscrapers of the cities. It smells stale and the air is harsh and suffocating. I keep my head bowed in respect as I wind my way through the lifeless expanse. I hear the dim whine of the generators and it reminds me of the cry of ravenous mosquitoes. I near the large brown door that is held open by a frayed rope and I stop. I peer into the darkness and solitude of the room. The costume room. The place where you can let your imagination run wild and where you can make your fantasies a visual reality.

I breath in. An overwhelming smell of old furniture and forgotten clothing rushes out to meet me. I step in and turn on the lights. All of the familiar sights are illuminated by the fluorescent lighting that runs along the high ceiling. The haphazard clutter of boxes and mismatched furniture. The huge array of brightly colored clothing and costumes hanging from bars or tossed to and fro about the room. The giant, battered old fish perched on its lookout place on the shelf among the gold framed black and white photos of charming young men and the small, priceless knick-knacks.

A pile of shoes sits at the end of the shelves. There are high heeled shoes that are the color of dirty snow and some high topped converse that are the color of orange highlighters. Most of the shoes come in pairs, but there are a few that are without. Their matches have undoubtedly been lost in the wreckage of colors in this sea of ever changing clutter.

It is here, in this whirl of magic and strange things, that the stage gets its finest moments. Although it may not look like much at first, the costume room is filled with amazing and worthwhile things. The things in this room make the magic of theatre real. It can turn me into the solitary gunslinger in his last moments or a discoverer of ancient worlds. All it takes is imagination.

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