AN UNSEEN HAND turned an unusually bright spotlight upon a darkened stage. Out of nowhere, a figure stepped onto the platform, with no idea how he got there or where he came from. Neither did he know what to do. But in his mind, he seemed to be hearing a voice fainter than a whisper, giving him a vague instruction to act and to say something.
Half-bewildered, half-suspecting someone was pulling his leg, the figure looked to his left and right, and realized that he wasn’t alone; that he shared the stage with several other beings — puppets, marionettes, dolls, and stick figures — who, like him, had no idea why they were there.
It was as he turned to his right that the figure noticed something peculiar: the arena where he and the other beings were to perform had no seats for spectators.
AFTER HOURS OF walking to and fro the stage — many times crossing paths, a few times colliding with, and sometimes walking alongside the others — the figure just knew, though he couldn’t explain how, that he was being called off the stage. So he delivered his last lines, bowed to the other beings, and started to make his exit. As he retreated to the backstage, he heard some kind of noise erupt. Whether it was a collective applause or booing, he wasn’t sure; he didn’t turn to see.
Reaching the backstage, the figure saw a silhouette making weird gestures as though he was conducting an orchestra. Thinking that the silhouette was another actor about to step onto the platform, he gave him a sympathetic look and exclaimed, “Whew! That was some kind of a play. A scriptless one! Would you believe that? And undirected, too. Weird, isn’t it?”
Receiving no response, the figure persisted, “By the way, are you an actor, too?”
The silhouette shook his head, not taking his gaze off the invisible orchestra. “No, I’m the director.”
Stunned, the figure exclaimed, “The director? You are the director? Why then aren’t you directing? I would have been spared of all those collisions. I would not have gotten lost. I would have been able to put in a better performance; I would not have a-fretted and a-strutted upon that weird platform like some kind of a drunk!”
The silhouette momentarily turned his attention to the figure. “I was. You just weren’t listening.”
Copyright 2005 by Sherma E. Benosa
All Rights Reserved.
Re-posted to cap my “Life Is…” series.