Story: Getting lost on stage

[rough draft]

I was there in the darkness again. Eyes pressed tightly shut intent upon my mission. The lips of my mind curled in reverential prayer. I was praying to the elementals again. I could feel their presence in my mind. My belief in them had been magnified when they had saved my life. Had they really? That is a question of now it was not a question then. They had saved my life, and they were my gods. So I don’t know what role, if any they played in what happened next.

The orchestra was finishing the overture. I heard the deep rumble of the brass taking over the music. Their thunderous notes rushed forwards with cataclysmic imperative. I could imagine Mr. Z out there his skinny arms conducting the hell out of his players. He had usurped the normal conductors position when it was apparent to all of us that he just didn’t give a shit about the show. The motors for the curtain sprang into creaking, groaning life overhead revealing the garish spotlight and the aching void beyond he stage.

An empty theater house is empty, but flat. When everyone has their characters going the forth wall becomes solid without an audience. When people fill the space then suddenly it becomes empty in a whole new way. The crowd is a beast, even when they are not throwing bottles or rampaging. The beast is hungry. The curtains provide a polite barrier for the ravenous craving, but the moment it lifts or parts the hunger is there on the stage. Feed it well and you become its master, for a moment anyways. Feed it poorly…

So it hit me. Harder and faster than it ever has before. Yet that experience would come later. I felt it, like a fish feels the tug when it has been well hooked. Swimming along, playing with the streams of water all around, suddenly an alien force pulls at your body out of nowhere. This is like nothing you have ever felt before, because the water, which is just another part of you, moves you as much as it moves itself. This is moving you despite the water. It rips you through the current which rips back at you trying to hold you as it always has done.

No, when I walked out on stage I was left behind. My body walked forward and I just stayed in the same space. I stood there watching myself. I could still see out of my eyes, but they weren’t my eyes anymore. I was not right behind them. I was ten feet behind them, just beyond the edge of the wings, barely on the stage. While my body moved steadily forward, just as it had practiced hundreds of times. We had practiced more intensely for this production than we ever had before. There was something about this show that called forth more from everyone. We had all worked hared and sacrificed more. The directors had pushed me most of all. I knew it and didn’t fight against it. I had been called there into the director office months and months ago. He had he doubts about if it could be done. He had his doubt about me. I was a fuckup. And instead of redeeming myself I had only shown that I was more and more of a fuckup. I would almost ruin everything about a month later when I came close to death. But I said I would do it, and when it finally came down to it, I did the job. Better probably than anybody had dared to hope.

When I walked away from myself I was not afraid. I was happy. Happier than I had ever been before. I got a bit concerned that he would get the lines wrong. But I heard him speak them loud and clear. It ended only a few moments later. I don’t member what brought me back. Going back was not memorable. I was just myself in my body again. Speaking, singing, dancing. It was a hell of a show.

So many memories came to me after the first night. Things I had been aware of during the show, had to be aware of, yet never betrayed. The audience was there, and I loved the attention. They loved my performance. I loved them loving my performance. I gave them catharsis. I dragged ever last emotion I could. Yet I never let them see my hands doing the dragging.

Once you’ve loved the beast that is the audience there is no going back. No other love can compare.