Life While You Wait
Sometimes I feel ill prepared for life… like everyone else received the script and stage directions except for me. Everyone else seems to know exactly where to position themselves and what scene comes next and I’m still standing at the props table going, “Huh, what scene are we in?! “
Having studied performing arts, I know only to well the rehearsing and rigour required for a successful production. There are so many similarities between life and the theatre. Ultimately you can rehearse and prepare for months and come the opening night something goes wrong – you get flu, forget your lines or split your sequin tights…
This is also true of life, you can think it is going to happen one way and suddenly you realise that you had it all wrong. I thought that I would be married at twenty-two, have three and a half children by twenty-seven and be in a high paying and creative job. At nearly twenty-six, I have the most adorable nephew and niece and am about to embark on an incredible solo adventure to Asia! Not the script I expected, but I am delighting in being fully alive and having the most incredible opportunities before me.
I also know that not everyone likes every show that they go and watch. It is the same with life, you will never please everyone…. Your story may be full of drama, whereas it seems like everyone prefers a light-hearted comedy. (Well maybe they do!)
I also see how your character is developed or stifled throughout a play. It’s also true with life. If you let your director assist you in creating a well developed character, you will most definitely get the most out of your performance. I think this is similar to our journey with God. If only I listened and heard His educated and knowledgeable directions instead of stumbling and fumbling and sometimes foolishly striving to find my place, I may have a more successful run of the Cayly production.
The list of theatrical metaphors can go on… however, instead, I will share a poem with you that expresses it exquisitely. ‘Life While You Wait’ was written by the 1996 Polish Nobel peace winner, Wislawa Szymborska. I find it strangely comforting to know that I am not the only one who sometimes feels ill prepared for life. This doesn’t make me a failure, it makes me alive, living authentically.
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.
I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it’s mine. I can’t exchange it.
I have to guess on the spot
just what this play’s all about.
Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can’t conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.
Words and impulses you can’t take back,
stars you’ll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run —
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.
If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven’t seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn’t even clear my throat offstage).
You’d be wrong to think that it’s just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I’m standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there’s no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I’ve done.
As they say in theatre, “Break a leg”
Ps. The pretty photos are of the Palais Garnnier, a 1,979-seat opera house. I used a fisheye film camera when I visited this beautiful Parisian building.