Last night I was sitting backstage at The Lab Theatre waiting for my next cue. There’s an area at the foot of the stairs that extends under what is a sort of side-view balcony, and also the tech booth, above. That’s where I was. I had usurped an easy chair being used as a prop by a different show, and I know which one, and was being quiet while other dancers delivered the goods out front under the lights. Bad me. Bad, bad me. But if I had never written this they would never know. It was in storage and I usurped it, respectfully.
It was quite dark. Reflected light from the stage gave a ghostly quality to girders and other simply useful and necessary items. A fellow cast member stood several feet away with her arms crossed, watching the stage action as it could be seen from the side. Except for what was happening on stage it was very quiet.
It occurred to me that I was privileged. Audiences who are not themselves performers as well don’t sit where I was sitting, seeing what I was seeing, experiencing what I was experiencing. I don’t own the backstage. Only divas of either gender think they do. But I know that as a performer in this show, and as a long-standing performer in many shows, I know my way around in the dark back there. I’m allowed.
I became very grateful. I realized that this is exactly where I want to be. I know this backstage world, and I know the onstage world as well. I am very, very comfortable in these worlds. At my age and in my declining physical condition (I’m 66) I am grateful that I am still welcome here.
The darkness around me was quiet, respecting the work onstage. Reflected sound and audience responses came back to me. I knew where my cue to enter would come. I was at peace. This is my life now, and has been my life for many decades. I hope it lasts a while longer. To paraphrase many politicians, “God bless you and God bless the Fringe Festival of Minnesota.”