Monday, October 10, 2011

a moment in the day: richard foreman festival panic moment number one

Stephen and I stand at the stage door in our gowns and wigs. The act before us is finished and now it's quiet in the house. I lean my ear as close to the door as I can without bending my hat, and I whisper at Stephen.

"I don't hear anything. Should we go out?"

Stephen's eyes are a little wide under the swoops of his false eyelashes, "I think they'll announce our name."

We're pretty sure it's our turn in the program, but the emcee doesn't have a microphone, and no one has been giving clear instructions about entrances. For a long moment, we wait. Then I hiss at Stephen again.

"I don't hear anything. Should we go out?"

Standing there looking slightly terrified in that odd, little kitchen in the apartment that juts off of the performance space, Stephen as Madeleine Prévert is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.

The masculine and feminine of his face, the deep, red lips, the blond sculpted wig under sequinned black net hat. Behind the door, now, is a quiet murmur. Maybe a voice.

I make out, "without further ado," but then silence again. I raise my eyebrows at Stephen.

"I think they'll announce our name," he says, but he doesn't look sure.

Total silence behind the door. Adrenaline is hot wet cement seeping through my bones. If they were ready out there, wouldn't they announce our names? But silence and silence. I whisper at Stephen.

"Should we go out?"

He pulls open the door. Beyond is blackness and a soft gray-shadow puddle of spotlight on the floor. Grabbing up our stools and our flowered paper cones, we step through, forgetting to close the door behind us, and step out into the silent dark.

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