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Behind the scenery, my fantasy's end

Posted by Simon Parke, 04 August 2020, 8.34am

So after the show, I decide to go behind the scenery, to go back stage.

I’ve marvelled at the performance, at the cleverness of it all; but standing here now, I see what holds the scenery together, the cogs and the pulleys, how everything works, the sleights-of-hand, the professional deceptions.

I’m amazed. There’s more going on behind the scenes than there was in front!

Here I let go of the fantasy I have just watched. I appreciate how the show was just a construct, though a very clever one.

And I meet the performers, of course - though they are no longer perform.

In role, they were absolutely convincing.

But back stage there is no need for pretence, so costumes and props are discarded; a soldier places his sword in a box; the comedian no longer has to joke all the time and a woman puts down the fan which, on stage, she hid behind and kept people away.

The king laughs with the servant, all status gone - they are brothers in real life.

Back stage, the performers can be themselves. They are free people, no longer stuck with another person’s lines, other people’s direction or costumes they dislike.

Though one actor remains alone, I notice him in a corner; he can’t join with the others.

‘He got so used to playing the role,’ I am told, ‘he can’t get out of it now. He thinks it is who he is, so it’s difficult talking to him, because it’s like he’s not really there. I think he’s a bit frightened, to be honest.’

Our personality is a construct and so much to admire; a clever performance though fragile and only a glimpse of who we are.

Soul work and joy begins when we go back stage…

... and find that reality trumps fantasy.

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