I decided to watch the first dress rehearsal.
Our daughter, Adelaide, was in the kid’s chorus of Kansas State University’s The Music Man last week and I thought I’d stick around and watch. I was excited to see the costumes. I was anxious to see the show, to hear the songs in context, to watch for my Adelaide in the midst of the mayhem!
And so I waited. The house lights were on and the preparations were under way. The lighting guys were at their table studying computer screens, dials and switches on a fancy board. A man in a red t-shirt wore a head set and talked quietly to someone off stage. I heard the sound man behind me. He cussed dramatically at something. His colleague was quiet. The orchestra in the pit were working on measures 70-74 over and over and over again. I could see the gleam of light off the bald maestro’s head and the white of his director’s stick bouncing out the rhythm.
The wait continued. The director pecked out instructions and notes to herself on her iPad. She whisper-barked orders at an assistant who flurried around responding, checking on details, running for things. The man with the headset kept listening and talking to his invisible friends back stage. The sound man kept making noise. The light coordinator kept the house lights bright.
The announcement was made: “Ten minutes to Top of the Show” –which is theater talk for we’re almost ready to start. And then, “Two minutes to Top of the Show”… and then nothing happened. There was a delay. Unqualified. Long. Unexplained.
Suddenly, when I had begun to despair that it would ever start, the lights in the house dimmed. The reading lights in the pit went down. The theater was in the dark. And we were all filled with expectancy. Something was about to happen! The show was about to begin!
And then it hit me! When the lights go dim, the story is about to start. We can sit back with anticipation. We know the Playwright. We can peer excitedly into the darkness, as the curtain rises, the music starts and the drama of our lives continues to unfold. The twilight is pregnant with potential. Apprehension gives birth to anticipation; foreboding gives way to promise and prospect. We can relax.
That’s what I did. I sat and watched Act One. I laughed at the funny bits. I noticed when Marion the Librarian’s wig fell off and I tried not to snort. Pride crept inside when my Adelaide came on stage. She’s a complete natural. I kept glancing over at the man with the headset, at the director, at the costume mistress. I watched their faces too. I wondered how they thought it was going.
And I thanked my Director, who’s in charge of my soul and of my story.
He knows the plot, he hums along to the sound track, he’s producing character in me and it pleases him. He Lights up my moments. He gives me perspective on dimly lit days. The Playwright wrote these scenes before a single one of them had come to be. When the theater goes dark, I can sit back and watch. The curtain rises on this particular Act and I know the story is still unfolding.
If you would like to read more of Robynn take a look here!
11 thoughts on “An Epiphany at the Dress Rehearsal”
I am an actor. I majored in Theatre in college and spent 6 years of my life on the other side of the audience. What you describe is so relevant,Robynn! And if I can add another layer to the experience?
Behind the curtain we have the same feelings, emotions and experience that those in the seats do, but it’s magnified. It’s palpable. It’s consuming. We, as a company, have labored so very hard and long on what we’re about to lay out for you. We’ve lost sleep and our minds and gained chaos in the long and meticulous process. There have been successes and setbacks. We’ve allowed ourselves to be raw and vulnerable and open so as to increase our ability to be molded. Our transformation into the characters that stand before you has been both uncomfortable and exhilarating. Painful and pleasurable with no small fear of losing (or gaining) oneself. Stumbling on these new foundations being laid, we hold hope for the promise of the revelation day. The opening night! The acceptance and response of the audience is what we have spent the past months aching for! So when that hush falls over the theatre and the lights dim, we lie in wait, ready to unleash all of our work upon you. Do you see it? The energy? The light in our eyes? Like little children clambering for the recognition of a job well done. So precious. So honest.
So very like what we strive to do each day in our lives as brothers and sisters in Christ. We try so hard! How very important it is for us to remember that God is like our dear Robynn in her theatre seat, so full of anticipation. Willing to sit through the last minute scrambling, ready to welcome us and so full of excitement and love and pride at our final performances. No doubt, Robynn was there at the actor exit, ready to high-five her daughter and reassure her that the show was the best one yet. A job very well done.
What a beautiful moment we have to look forward to when our final curtain closes and our Father stands in ovation saying, ” A job well done, my dear child”
Thanks for posting Robynn. You are so dear to me!
Love this Amanda – You’ve captured so well the other side of the stage. Thank you for this insightful comment that adds so much to Robynn’s post.
Thank you Robynn and Marilyn! Yesterday the lights went dim in an area of our lives and my heart was, and still is, filled with foreboding. The timing of my reading of this post is uncanny, though, as I am a day late. Every morning, except yesterday, I read the posts after the kids are off to school and the house is quiet. Had I read this yesterday morning, I would have thought, “wow! great post!”, pondered it for a while and gone one with my day. Praise God I read this today and that he has again, through the two of you, given us a new perspective with which to view the ending of this story ~ not with dread, but with anticipation! Twilight can be beautiful or scary, depending on one’s perspective. Sitting in a chair by a fire in our backyard twilight is beautiful. Driving a car during twilight on roads surrounded by fields camouflaging deer that are ready to sprint out in front of our car is scary! Thank you for the reminder to sit back and trust God. I have a feeling this drama is going to be a doosey, but we are going to view it as scary with beautiful potential!
Thank you, God, for these women, Marilyn and Robynn. Through You and their writing, they bring new perspective, wit, honesty and truth and so much more to the lives of others. I ask that today you give them extra special blessings where they most need them. Amen.
Dear Learning as I Go,
I’m crying having just read your response! Thank you for being so raw and so honest. I prayed for grace for you as wait in the dark. I prayed for a sense of the Playwright’s Presence… His proximity. He is A Very Present Help in Trouble.
Thank you for your kind words and for your prayer. You blessed me.
I am sitting in grateful amazement reading this account. Thank you for sharing this. Thanks for sharing your heart. Thanks for your affirmation in the midst of your twilight. Your line “I have a feeling this drama is going to be a doosey” tells me it is no small thing that you are experiencing. Praying with and for you.
I’d like to thank you for your prayers! They are working :) Grace is not always my forte, but I managed to sit through a meeting and keep my mouth shut (mostly), stay on track, keep my tone civil when I did speak, and lean heavily on my husband to lead and guide the conversation. The lights are getting a little brighter as God has provided a couple of options to investigate and people we know who are willing to share their personal experience with these options. I’m excited to see how this all plays out. I’ll update again when I can see the curtain opening a little wider! Thanks again!!!
Well said, Polly. Thanks.
I love this post. I thought it was going to end up being about advent, but loved the way you ended it.
Oh—-it is an advent post, isn’t it? Waiting in the dark for the Dawn! you should rewrite it!
I love your analogy, Robynn. And I’m thinking, some are in that first act, others in the middle, in Act 2. And then there I am, and my friends, we’re getting near the end of the story, somewhere in Act 3. But the most amazing, wonderful part is that when the curtain goes down, and the play is over, with God, I’ll be just beginning the Real Story, for which this play is only the beginning, the introduction. (C.S. Lewis gets the credit for this thought. It’s from “The Last Battle.”) Thank you for this blessing on this Friday morning.
Thank you Auntie Polly!