The rumble of the masses taking their seats sets my stomach churning. Darkness backstage is penetrated only by the exit signs, occasional flashlights, and a patter of feet. Whispers carry across the cramped space: actors going over their lines, stagehands double and triple checking light and sound cues. The smell of sweat is suffocating as my heart skips a beat, and the thick layer of makeup on my face doesn’t alleviate the stifling heat. A beat of silence, and then a voice tells the audience to please turn off their phones, and not use flash photography. A light hits the stage like a spear impaling a soldier. Dust floats in the air, parting for me and as I saunter onto the stage, murmurs sweep through the vicinity. A bead of sweat rolls down my back when I reach my place on the polished wood floor and turn to the audience. Though I cannot see a single face, my eyes narrow, focusing in on the lines that I know like the back of my hand. The air shifts. Everyone backstage breathes in, preparing for me to deliver my first line. I break the deafening silence that has filled the room. A part of me settles into place, even as another stirs awake at the rapt attention of hundreds of people. Let the show begin.
Let the Show Begin
March 23, 2018