Thursday, May 5, 2011

Performance of 'Our Life Stories'

The Memory Chair (cont’d) THE PERFORMANCE!

May 1, 2011

Drama rules the day!

Behind the double doors of the auditorium, the very air took on a proprietary status; the stage almost hummed with anticipation. As I watched the chairs being placed so precisely, the props carefully scrutinized; and the staff going to and fro with all the blocks of unifying involved in a live performance; I felt the first flutter of butterflies deep in my stomach. I am sure I wasn’t alone! Eyes appeared bright and eager; smiles graced faces; muted laughter, and low voices held hints of excitement—and also a little fear!

Wrenn led us through a skeletal version of the entire production, meaning we walked the parts, but in speaking…blah, blah, became the vocal credence of each story.

We broke for lunch; I think this was mostly to let us settle inside ourselves. During the last fifteen minutes, Wrenn led us through facial warm-up exercises: the mouth, the tongue, and voice sounds. We stood in a circle, dressed in black, and all eyes were on Wrenn. She ended the meeting saying, “Have fun, if mistakes are made, no one will know! Just have fun!”

The music began, the auditorium lights dimmed, the overhead fixtures illuminated the stage—and we stepped into action mode. Only, we appeared as silent players bursting on stage, mouthing our words to ourselves. Wrenn stopped the performance and urged us off stage. She spoke of a sound problem….

We didn’t know anything else to do, but simply wait for a second cue….

The introduction music opened the show; we began anew with our Life Story segment—with sound this time—and went on with the rest of the performance. We moved with lighter steps, butterflies down to merely a quiver…. I wonder if some kind of divine providence took hold here; it seemed we found laughter in our unexpected predicament; a jocular atmosphere wrapped its arms around us—we, who in our life journey, had met much-like situations and rode unsparing failures, only to see them later turn into—triumphs!

Elizabeth (Willie) Towles

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