Letter from Jenni

Letter from Jenni

Dear Lyceum 

No play today. No real people pretending to be other real people. No painting of scenes or painting of faces. No people on seats or programmes or expectant shuffle of feet. No plastic cups of wine, no crackle of sweetie papers. No disturbance of children needing a pee. No hissing the villain or looking behind you. No back ends of panto ponies. No sound of music. No avalanche of laughter, no tears. No bravos or boos, no claps for actors. No clever critics. No swish of the curtain. No missed cues, forgotten lines. No nerves in the wings. No exit from magic to mundane street. No after show wind down in the pub. 

But no shortage of drama framed by my window. Lilac flamboyant at the gate, bull finches busy at the apple blossom. The pink flash of a small girl on a scooter, the boy from round the corner on his bike. Johnnie and his springer spaniels called Seven and Zero after a football score. A neighbour’s black cat on the back wall. A wave from the postie – nothing for me. The veg box left on the step. Families out together on weekdays. Nora heading home, Stephen with Duke and Toto, Chrissie brisk on her daily walk (no one's waiting for Godot). At dusk a hedgehog on the gravel. A blaze of red and gold in the west, and when the sun has gone a festival of lit bridges spanning the firth. 

And then allowed out into a bigger theatre. Rainbows chalked on the pavement. Down to the shore with dog, under the bridge’s giant girders and millions of rivets – there’s drama for you. A heron poised on a rock, eider diving and seeking, a discordant chorus of oyster catchers. An opera of bird song, a ballet of leaves in the wind. The tugs at Hound Point neatly parked, ready for action. Mysterious Mortimer’s Deep and the sweep of the firth reaching out to the North Sea and distant victories and defeats. And not so distant tragedy – lives lost to war and work and weather. History repeats. 

All the world’s a stage. He was right about many things, our Will. But he knew and we know that the stage built by human hands, the scenes fashioned out of lived lives, the women and men created from what we see and feel, the words crafted out of that electric blend of experience and imagination – we need them all. 

Next year in the Lyceum. If we forget you, let our hearts and minds lose their cunning. 

Jenni Calder 

Tags: From Audience