One of the marvels of participating in theatre is watching a bare stage become washed in light and colour and sound and movement and then, when the production is done and the set struck, usually within a couple of hours of the last performance, the stage returns to blank walls and a bare floor. It is over. Never to happen in the same way again.
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero says some of my favourite theatrical lines.
Legendary Canadian actor, William Hutt, at age 85, portrays Prospero in the 2005 Stratford Festival production of The Tempest.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
The Tempest Act 4, scene 1
It is always bittersweet to put a theatre production to bed. Obviously Shakespeare knew this feeling, too. Like every minute of our lives, the words and actions and innuendos of every performance are unique and will never be repeated the same way again. Ever.
For the past few weeks I have been part of the King’s Town Players production of the Classic Canadian story by Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel, faithfully adapted for the stage by James W. Nichol. It has been a pleasure to work with my theatre friiends to explore and interpret this piece, one that resonates with everyone.
Our final performance of The Stone Angel was last night. The stage is now bare and dark. Revels ended. But the experience of participating in this drama has been enriching and hopefully our audiences found it a thought-provoking piece of local theatre.
Stage of The Stone Angel before the last performance and one hour after the show was done.
Here are a couple of video montages of our production.
Here is how I imagined Jason Currie in front of his General Store in Manawaka, Manitoba in the late 1800’s