I’m sitting in an empty auditorium.
I look around at the darkened seating, a program or two occupying spaces where people had staked out territory only fourteen hours ago. Around the edges of the stage are the folding chairs used to seat the overflow of enthusiastic late comers … students mostly, I think, taking notes at first, and then caught up, caught up, pens laid aside, forgotten.
Every night it was the same.
RICHARD III closed last night. Six performances. An inordinate amount of work for just six performances, don’t you think?
It’s cold in here. You know the feeling – the kind of dry chill that reminds you of just how large the room is, and how minute is the portion you occupy. Last night it was warm in exactly this very spot. Did someone forget to turn off the air conditioning? It really doesn’t matter.
I stare at the stage – empty now. They dismantled the set this morning. Men came in – and a few women. With power screwdrivers they came, with ladders and furniture covers and dollies and in no time at all they took everything away – the throne, the platforms, walls windows doors everything.
But in the comforter of darkness I still see them – figures claw out of the darkness and stand resolutely on stairs that are no longer there and say “I am here! I am ANNE and MARGARET and BUCKINGHAM and GREY and CATESBY and RICHMOND …
And in the shadows, RICHARD … always in the shadows Richard …
People are coming. They are at some distance, but this is a theatre, after all. Sound is encouraged to carry. I suspect they are the crew about to turn the stage into the home for JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.