Letter from Felix

Letter from Felix

Dear Lyceum, 

 

You used to be one of the only places in the city where clapping happened.  

 

I think about those final moments at the end of a performance on your stage: the sharp crack of a gunshot, a candle blown out, a last line suspended in silence. The whole audience holds their breath. And then, release. 

 

One clap first, a toe in the water or a single drip before the dam breaks and everyone joins in. Jumps in. The applause rushes up to your chandelier, now glistening in the light.  

 

I look around, blinking as I clap, seeing how many people there had been around me all this time, hidden in the darkness. Each one of us had experienced the performance on our own, but now we are appreciating it as one.  

 

Applause is what togetherness sounds like. “I feel what you feel,” we are saying with our hands. “I am moved by what moved you.”   

 

But now, Lyceum, without you there to hold us, our clapping happens outside.  

 

Like those final moments in one of your performances, our lives seem frozen: plans put on hold, everything waiting until ‘all this is over’. Our breath is held for the latest grim toll. And then, at eight o’clock on a Thursday evening, release. 

 

In streets that have fallen silent without traffic, one clap first. A summons, soon answered by more claps, cheers, bells, pans, horns and – you will appreciate this, Lyceum, knowing a thing or two about how to put on a show – even drum circles and pipe bands. 

 

The sound spreads and rises into the spring evening. In place of your chandelier, just the faintest glisten of emerging stars.   

 

All week, hidden behind closed doors and windows, there had been people around us: going through the same thing, feeling the same way. But now we see it. Now we hear it.   

 

Soon this time will end. We will carry on. And so will you, Lyceum. When we are going about our lives again, heads full of our own concerns, I can’t wait for us to gather in your seats.  

 

For the lights to go down, as the second half begins. Hushing. Knowing that the next sound we make will be with our hands, to clap – because we are about to enter into a world alone, but come out of it together.   

 

Yours, with appreciation, 

 

Felix Davey 

Tags: From Audience