What you usually see is the end product of months of effort. It is the same with performances. The excitement of one is infectious- from the reverential hush that comes down and the slow opening of the heavy velvet curtains to the virtual scent of magic that hangs deliciously in the air. The taste of glamour is like brandy- intoxicating and surreptitious. The show will take your breath away with its storyline and the amazing choreography. Finally at the end, the applause is deafening. The actors take a bow, once, twice, acknowledging the ovation. The show is a success.
After the cries of ‘Encore!’ have died down, the performers move backstage. Then, the unseen workers come out, like silent butterflies, to clean up. Noiseless and efficient, the trademark of a good crew worker.
Some people’s job is to be behind the scenes. Working, touching up, taking care of the so-called ‘little things’. That is one of my jobs-waiting in the wings. I am the one who draws and opens the curtains, touching up the little things and making sure the lighting is fine. Not important, right? I guess you could say so. The show must still go on with the curtains thrown open and in pitch darkness, right? (sarcastic intended).
Yeah, there is always someone who has to do these things. Moving the props and seeing to the actors’ comfort so that the actors can concentrate on singing and dancing with neon smiles on their faces. Makes you wonder if they are really happy. Job satisfaction is one thing, Cheshire cat expressions are another. But I suppose the Cheshire cat could have been happy leading
What is it with us? Maybe we just do not like the spotlight. Most people only know those who always are. They come for a two-hour show to see the brilliant costumes and with dialogue but no one bothers about the sweeping, cleaning, sweating and the moving of heavy objects that have been going on for the whole day. Donkey work it is called. But it is not bad; pays for our bread and butter, and gives us something to do. We know how the theater works inside out- we ARE the theatre- though I wonder whose ambition it is to be a crew worker behind the scenes?
From young we are taught that the only respectable professions were, well, the professionals- doctors, lawyers, and accountants. But if we were all doctors, who would be the sick? If we were all lawyers, who would be the accused? I know ambitious people have to start small and build up from there. Doing the few odd jobs, gaining experience, then finally unleashing their impotent wrath on the industry. Nah, make the talent instead. If you want to know more, get behind the scenes.
There is nothing wrong with doing seemingly unimportant jobs, though some would see you as a failure. As said before, if everyone were to be a doctor, who would be the patient? Wise men say it is the little things in life that count. That goes too for this philosophizing crew with the hundred watt smiles could be hiding heartbreaks-broken families, drink problems, you name it. Same goes for those with high profile sixteen-hour jobs. You never hear of the semi-deranged crew member beating up the paparazzi.
I hope that I will lead a peaceful life. I am happy and I guess that is what really matters. Not money, not fame. So I guess I will go set up the stage for tonight then. Tonight if you want to find me, I will be in the wings watching the big names and thinking what a failure I am. A happy failure. That is what counts. I wonder if the Cheshire cat was happy doing the disappearing act? Well, at least he did not have reporters and photographers hounding him.