theatre in the round

without a defining arch or separating steps
we’re meant to see ourselves as we are
always with our backs to someone as we perform
our hands and faces interactive entering and going out
through the audience or rising from a mechanic wonderpit
a cauldron blood of bat limb of toad heart of constrictor
stirred with a magic eagle feather and a chant
foretelling spectacular rise and fall
or alleging from imaginary battlement murder most foul
arguments of salesmen who live beyond final lines

we’ve never been anywhere else
but in this indistinguishable from real
vehicle for looks and notice pathos and derision
these stuffed bears of happiness and tragedy
making us think so to speak

scripts delivered with hesitations
what? er well you know maybe
rehearsed vernacular verisimilitude
but they’d like us to think not
the best the self-appointed critic at the interval bar
comes up with while downing something on the rocks
and making smutty asides to the director’s partner

we’re at dinner in the second act and have invited decency
the poor relation in want of a feed at the holidays
who has come in cheap clothes and with toys that don’t need batteries
the children kick in corners even before he leaves
we seat him down the table where he’s hidden by the flowers
but can later claim without a hint of staginess he was there
and we did our bit for him

we’ve moved past electric shock sleep deprivation and cleansing
to a secular blur that’ll soon come clear
a voice rising from skeletons in every corner of the house
with authentic timbre

33 thoughts on “theatre in the round

  1. Wow! I’m (almost) lost for words. Life, in all its acts, and we, as such bit-part players, perform as if the words were written around us. And, in the end, all we do is hand the tattered script to our off-spring, hoping that their performance will out shine ours, yet knowing that they will face the same cat-calls.
    There is an inevitability of sadness within this, John, which is majestically crafted. I am hugely impressed.
    All the best to you
    Chris

  2. Wow! I wish I knew how to wrap my feelings about this into a neatly-edged, ribboned review, John. But, THIS. This is too big to be wrapped!

  3. Brother John – Insightful view of reality. No separation between actors and audience. All the world’s a stage reversed to all the stage is the world with the stage’s limitations, tragedies and wonders. We’ve always existed thus, illusion indistinguishable from reality, “making us think so to speak”. Our lives’ directions and purposes unsure as we age. instead of a noble maturity we end up with:

    the best the self-appointed critic at the interval bar
    comes up with while downing something on the rocks
    and making smutty asides to the director’s partner

    In our “second act” we make a halfhearted pretense at honoring the higher purpose “decency” of life, but hypocritically :

    we seat him down the table where he’s hidden by the flowers
    but can later claim without a hint of staginess he was there
    and we did our bit for him

    Finally, we arrive at the end, beyond punishment, guilt, and salvation to the reality of,
    “a voice rising from skeletons in every corner of the house
    with authentic timbre”

    Profound , as ever, Brother John.

  4. Thank you
    Brother David
    for this wonderful commentary.
    You always offer support and encouragement through your fine words.
    THANK YOU

    Much love to You and Diane

    Always your brother

    john

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