Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Stage

The stage has always held a special lure for me. My elementary school had a great stage with velvety curtains, and bright lights, and wooden floors. I would often escape my classes with the false pretense of having to use the lady’s room and make my way upstairs to the stage. Sometimes the tall wooden doors to the auditorium would be locked and I had to drag a heavy heart back down the stairs into class. Other times a school janitor would usher me back to my teacher.

But there were many times that I had the stage all to myself, and I would imagine an audience applauding my performance. I would dance, and twirl and curtssee. Or silently act out dramatic scenes in which the heroine took her own life in the end. (Please view video above) I suppose that was strongly influenced by Madame Butterfly, which my mother, (who loved singing opera), introduced me to when I was only eight. I remember I did not blink through that entire performance!

I loved having the stage all to myself! If I heard footsteps approaching I would scurry behind a velvety curtain and try not to laugh. Usually my giggles would give me away, followed by an escort back to class, or occasionally, the headmistresses office! Laura and I were on a first name basis.

After school I created my own stages. I would gather the neighborhood children and organize elaborate performances of many kinds. I choreographed dances and directed plays. I found costumes for the other children and took care of hair and make-up. Sometimes we used the piano, sometimes just our voices, and the rehearsal’s would often go on for weeks! When I felt our act was presentable, I would invite my friends parents and other children to be our audience. I would write out little invitation cards on construction paper, and hand-deliver them door-to-door. Between the ages of eight and eleven it wasn’t uncommon for adults to ask me for impromptu performances at their tea parties, or family gatherings. I could produce instant entertainment to everyone’s amusement.

My photographs visibly engage this theatrical aspect of my personality, as the stage curtain rises and falls with the opening and closing of my camera’s aperture. In creating theatrical images I feel myself resuscitating my childhood self, who lives vicariously through my photographs. She loves dressing in costumes and creating a dramatic scene that will completely absorb her audience. In their attention to her performance, she hopes the observers will see her own dramatic depths; which can be oceanic!

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