Sunday, April 5, 2020
#96 / Stage Fright
Shakespeare proclaimed that "all the world's a stage." And what about us? We are merely players, so Shakespeare says. We will, during our lives, be called upon to play out various roles.
The coronavirus pandemic, with its intimations of death, extended everywhere, with no person or place excepted, has provided us all with an an undesired casting call. Perhaps, I think, I ought to rehearse. Soon, I may be required to play out my inevitable, terminating part upon that final stage of life.
Sooner or later, as each one of us knows, we will all be called upon to step out from the backstage (left or right), and be sent to the front, to play our final part. Sooner or later, it will be our turn. The curtain will go upon that final scene, right before that curtain comes back down. There is no way to escape this ultimate performance. I must perform. While I have always known this, it now strikes me that it may actually be my time, sometime soon, to undertake, for the last time, those fretful, strutting steps by which we mark out our place upon the stage of this fair world. Thinking about it in advance, the possibility of a kind of immobilizing stage fright has gripped my soul.
If you are not familiar with "Stage Fright," the song, as performed by The Band, you may enjoy it. Click the link to the title of the song for the lyrics. The video below is a live performance. I have always loved this song.
What I have loved most about "Stage Fright" is that soaring affirmation that our stage fright can - and will - be overcome: "When we get to the end...he wants to start all over again."
When you absolutely know that you have been cast for the part, it's good to think about rehearsing. That's what I am doing now. I am thinking about how much I treasure all my friends and loved ones, how proud I am of my two children, how much I have appreciated the chance to be engaged with others in actions that have truly changed the world - at least the little part of the world that I call home. From the mountains to the sea, this world has been so beautiful to me. And all of those I know and love. So beautiful. To me.
I am just rehearsing, lest you not quite understand! So far, no summons upstage center!
But I do know that I have been cast for this part, and sooner or later I will receive that summons, and I will have to play out that final role that all of us (sometime) will have to play. By rehearsing (this is my strategy), I am trying to get over the stage fright. I don't want to be immobilized. I don't want to be afraid. I want to be ready for the role that I know that I must play when that curtain comes up upon my final scene, when that spotlight shines upon the place where I am supposed to stand.