The Final Scene
Almost everyone is backstage, save Salieri, Mozart, and Constanze. We clutter the stairway to the single stage entrance, robed in black. We listen to a requiem as Constanze asks, no, begs for Mozart not to die. “We wouldn’t know what to do without you,” she says. The music gets more dramatic. We are listening for the first time in a while, not because we’ve forgotten our cues, but because as Mozart’s hand slowly loses its ability to conduct, and he sinks further and further away from Constanze, AMADEUS, the show we have sacrificed so much time to and have loved so much, is also dying.
Each scene, each word, falls out of our mouths and movements for the very last time for this production. The crescendo rises, we circle around the corpse of Mozart, and our grief is not acted. We bury our experience in the final monologues and final bows, never to be seen or known in the same way again.
We remove our costumes with less glee than usual. Even torture can inspire nostalgia. I have a private moment before we strike the set and I well up in terror. I’ve been through this experience more times than I care to recall, having acted since I was a child. We move on, take on new projects, we let go of the emotional connection with our cast and crew. But this time I wonder, how will I go on?
In my case this is a little true, because these people are some of the most meaningful connections I’ve had here in Australia (there are a few lovely exceptions around the continent, including my writer’s group). I depend on these people for a number of social needs. I have determined not to let them fade into the distance, chalked up to another theatrical showmance. Persistence is key, I tell myself. But time will tell.
I let go of AMADEUS and the 1/3 of my year (not to mention SALIERI’S WOMEN, which was extra credit) that it included. And in the swell of that outgoing tide, I feel the shadow of the Tsunami behind it. With more time and energy in its build, and less time to get in the right position to ride it, is I’M FROM UP OVER, the show I came here to make.
There is fear, and there is excitement, and there is a mad dash to pull together the collective of experiences, writings, and responses from the whole of my time here in Australia…all those scenes I have written separately, and images and videos I’ve collected, and to push and pull at them until they deliver me an adequate storyline. Then to rehearse them and make them repeatable, to critique them, and finally to make the trip to Adelaide to share them with the world.
This is the most challenged I can ever recall myself being. Time is both my friend and my enemy. All the things I imagine I want to do and can do are going to go through a refining fire as hot as can be.
This is the greatest challenge ever. Some days I scream into a pillow about it. Some days I’m very good about putting in the time, and some days I am not.
There is no knowing how many unexpected things will happen between now and then, but one thing is certain, this show will consume me completely. There is no finer demand on my time or my creativity. This one is both wonderfully, and awfully, and sublimely, fully MINE.
And I feel the fear of a parent, for what could happen to this child? And will it will be fully-formed when it’s released into the world? I want it to have the best future possible, but some of the conversations I will have to have with it before then will be scary, and I procrastinate.
I fight on….to pull these things from the world of my mind and make them real and possible, to give them the best possible chance. Ready or not, here it comes.
I am not alone. You are here with me, all of you, and I feel the return of myself and the return to you, and I bring back this for us. It is my gift to Australia, and I hope, not my final one.
Wish me luck….or as I have learned is the appropriate alternate for “break a leg”…”chookas.”
Proof of the AMADEUS fun we had, courtesy of Kat & Brig. Enjoy.