[Originally published as one of my Facebook Notes]

It has often occurred to me that one of the truly “out of joint” aspects of doing community theatre is the “re-entry”. We all experience it: you build the intensity around the show, from diddly-squat at early rehearsal, gradually increasing to total involvement during the run, to the point that, for a week or two, the Show is the one, true rhythm of reality, the focus of all your energy and thought, and “out there” is a mere mist, a phantom world that you wander through until it’s time to do the Show again.

But then the final curtain falls, you strike the set and haul your paraphernalia home, and go back to work the next morning. And the odds are that almost no one back in this (old) “real” world has any inkling of the fact that for several days now, you have been A Completely Different Person. It’s not that they are aliens, but nevertheless, you have inhabited, even in their midst, a totally different reality. Sure, you looked the same, and you’ve taken part in all the normal activities. But your inner monologue has always been thinking about lines and movement and expression and how to fix that or improve this and tweak everything, to find some subtlety that will keep it real, and make it better. All the while going about the daily chores that pay the bills.

And then comes the exit from that orbit of rarefied air and the Re-Entry into the thick air “down here”. It always takes a few minutes (or hours, or even days perhaps), to trade in the rhythm of the Show for the mundane rhythms of your other life. Inevitably, you’re still spending a few brain cycles on improving a performance that is now forever beyond change, and that world of the Show begins its fade into dissolve. And you turn that inner eye and ear to the next show.

Theatre people walk in two worlds, I think. And how easily we slip through that unseen, seemingly fragile, yet infinite curtain that separates them.

© 2017 Chuck Puckett