When Art Occurs

About seven music stands were lined up across the brightly lit basement of the Chapel Street Players Playhouse. Each had a tent card folded over the front lip of the stand with the name of each character. The actors sat in chairs against one of the basement walls; moving to the stands when it was their turn to read.

As the author of the play I had skipped a couple of rehearsals because I want to experience the public reading scheduled for Saturday afternoon, Nov. 15, 1 pm on the main stage at the Chapel Street Players, 24 N. Chapel Street, Newark Del. (Free BTW).

I had just planned to drop off my two teddy bear friends for the rehearsal (each has a speaking part), but was pressed into service by Judy the wily director. One of the actors had been temporarily captured at home doing important family stuff and would be about 30 minutes late.

I was at one of the music stands muddling through until a real actor arrived when two of the actors began a hospital scene.

And then it happened. I never really knew what “bringing it to life” meant until that moment

The two began the scene walking toward the music stands simulating entering a hospital room. There voices matched perfectly and the speed with which they delivered their lines was rat-a-tat-tat – just like I heard it in my head when I wrote it, but only better. I was stunned, truly stunned.

And I know at that moment – even though it occurred in the basement at a rehearsal – collaborative art had occurred. I don’t know if anyone else felt that it, but I sure did. The speed, the delivery, the volume, and the regional accents were all perfectly matched. But like all things theater it was ephemeral, flashing, and gone in an instant. It was beautiful.

Shortly after, the actor I was filling in for arrived and I left wobbly-legged from the beauty I had just seen. I guess that’s it.

Bill

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