September 2, 2011 in J
I did not know it at the time, but I fell in love with the stage when I was nine. I was taking jazz ballet classes which moved to the Royale Theatre for the holidays and then I was chosen for the school choral recital which also practiced at the Royale. For two months I spent four or five afternoons a week on the stage. Then jazz ballet moved back to the gymnasium and I was not chosen for the choir again. Two years later the Royale was demolished after a fire. I cried, once when I heard it on the news and again the first time I saw the vacant site, and I did not know why. I am glad I did not know I was in love back then.
When I say I love the stage I mean the space; not the audience or the spotlight or the applause. I love the sheer potential of what will happen there, based on what I know has happened there in that space, and on thousands of other stages, for thousands of years; that part of the whole which is more that the sum of its parts. I appreciate the sets, lights, costumes and makeup, scripts and choreography, and the other performers: they have great personalities – but it is different with the stage.
It is different with the people, too, of course; because they have their own loves so they know, or at least recognize it, in me. My husband gets jealous when I am performing, he is afraid he will lose me. Jack cannot bear to be backstage, waiting blindly for me to return. He also cannot bear to wait at home and, we now know, he cannot learn to cook, dance, sculpt or fight either. You can imagine how long it took for us to figure out what was going on. Now Jack watches from the audience. He prefers to sit near the front so as not to feel like a voyeur. People who remark mostly say it is romantic. I do not mind where he sits, I am not up here for the audience. Even if we are wrong, it has saved our marriage and we are quite proud of that, just between the two of us.
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