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.
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