Letter from Michael
Hello, it’s me again.
Yes, the one that stood behind your various counters successfully pretending to know what to do. I still have the name badge somewhere if you need? Yes that one. I know I wasn’t there long but you made an impression. I thought I would write you a letter from a distance. I realise the norm is 2 metres but we have to make do with 319.5 miles. I’ll project for you at the back
Anyway, I noticed (even from all the way over here) that you’ve gone quiet. So have we. For a bit. I suppose we both need some time to recharge. We’re both tired in a way, and unsure about what the future holds. We both miss how things were while also desperately needing them to be different. I wanted to write you a letter from a small part of your recent past to remind you that, as difficult as it may be to imagine right now, I believe there will be a future.
To do that, I won’t write a letter about the building. You already know about all that. It’s only part of the story and one often told. I won’t pretend its perfect. You could probably do with some new carpets, among other things. There I said it. But friends often tell the truth even if it is not what they want to hear. But that is not why I am writing to you. I want to write to you because all too often the curious magic of theatre is not just imaginary. There are no ghosts in my story.
My story involves freshly baked treats snuck behind the bar. It asks ‘how are you doing today’ on the way to count change. It’s handy formulas scribbled on receipt paper on my first day. It’s many, many glasses of water poured for people who didn’t remember the Upper Circle was this high. It’s offering directions, and running across multiple floors and far too many stairs to fetch the right flavour of ice cream. It’s leaving behind my apron as a spare after I left because someone will panic when they forget theirs. If you’re reading this, I've got your back. Most importantly though, it’s about bringing together people that would never meet otherwise. It’s artists from Melbourne and Scotland working together. It’s audiences who fly in from the US being shown their seat by someone living above a pub in Canonmills. It’s refusing to accept borders in a time of devolution.
So as the lights dim and the world falls into a hushed anticipation, we the students, tourists, regulars and staff wait together in the dark to hear what you say next. In the past we have been transported to spaceships and highlands and villages packed with rhinoceroses. So needless to say we have proven ourselves open-minded. Show us where is next.
The Lyceum is not just a beautiful theatre. The UK has lots of beautiful buildings, many of them derelict. The shell alone is not what makes an egg precious. The Lyceum is a voice. A voice spoken in many languages and eras. Irrepressible as it is kind. Fierce as it is gentle. As loud as it listens.
I wanted to write you this letter to remind you that while people have a voice you will have a future. That while people are isolated now, they will one day need to meet again. They will need to collect again. Because they need to be heard and held and to be kind. And when that happens we will know that you are back.
But first you must hibernate. And I understand that. So while you do, all I ask of you is to sleep deeply. Dream up strange things. Rest well. Because tomorrow morning you dance.
- Michael Black
Tags: From Audience