Rooted in Theater August 3, 2020

When I was a child, I loved to perform for friends and family. I would sing, dance or recite poems. I had a solo in first grade in a Christmas pageant. i was curious about the old P and A theater in my home town of Northville.i would attend the matinee movie on Saturday afternoons. The ticket price was 35 cents. Before the movie, the owner would pick tickets and the children checked the numbers on their tickets. I was selected to compete. Each child was given a balloon and asked to blow it up until it burst. I didn’t want to break my balloon so I lost but I still had my balloon.I wondered what was behind the movie screen. When I was a teen, I saw a friend taking out the garbage from the back of the theater. “Doug, could you show me the area behind the screen?” He replied,”I guess, but there is not much to see.”The door to the area was just inside the back door. I stepped up into the old vaudeville stage. There was a tall area filled with ropes and pulleys for hanging backdrops. My feet made prints in the dust on the stage floor. After turning in a full circle, I asked if there were dressing rooms. Doug pointed to stairs on one side of the stage. I slowly descended to find three rooms lit by single light bulbs. The largest of the rooms still had hooks on the wall to hold costumes. The other two rooms had doors. I imagine stars and names on each door. The old theatre changed hands and the new owners wanted to refurbish the theater to it’s use for live productions. Northville’s community theater was started.In my 20’s I joined this group and performed on this same stage. Now the floor was refinished and the dressing rooms were updated with lit mirrors, makeup tables and a lounge area for the actors to relax while waiting for their cues. In this space, you could clearly hear what was said on the stage. While the Corona Virus has silently the stage , the theater waits for people to gather again in the red velvet seats.

The smell of greasepaint The laughter of the crowda tapping batonAre silent nowawait a virus’s demise
musicians, actors and stage handsall are quietstanding in the wingsThey hope for a rising curtainand a chorus to sing

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