Ode To The Theatre

Written By David E. Young , 2002
Oh, to be in the theatre
That famous dusty smell,
The echo of the empty stage
Which dreams and wonders tell

The tinny sound of ivory keys
Sitting in the corner
The spacious house with history
Ten thousand past performers

A set goes up in one week's time
With actors tripping 'round
It goes back down in even less
Then starts another round

Directors say, That's fine, we'll call."
Producers bite the budget.
Technicians walk in with a burger
While choreographers dodge it

The lighting crews show up on time
(A minute 'til the curtain)
The stage crew quickly don all black
The financiers, uncertain

The house crew wants to see the show
So they usher quickly
Refreshment servers look and see
A sea of faces vaguely

The posters change around the town
As actors brag, "I'm in that!"
Then sweat about a hundred pounds
As lights hit costume hats

They live on scones and soda-pops
And ready-made sandwiches
The dancers are forever stretching
And calling teachers, "witches"

The singers have an air about them
That demands attention.
And when you hear a group laugh loud
You've found the comic's station.

The empty dressing room is heavy
With a musty smell
Of make-up and of time gone by,
A thousand "weeks of hell"

The volunteers and union folk
Like to hang from rafters
Tying lights to tiny trestles
With the view of raptors

A rat is seen in a corner,
It's been there just as long
As anyone can remember
Some write it in a song

The green room couch is old and worn
The 'fridge is working half-time
The ticket crews all know the actors
To let them in on time

The building echoes in it's mass
As a show begins
But then comes what will make all worth it
In the very end

People come from all around
Standing long in line
They get a program, read the ads
From financiers this time

The empty chairs are filled within
An hour of unlocked doors
The talk is of the weather and
Of shows they'd seen before.

The fully lit house is bustling
With sounds of joy and laughter
And actors feel that nervous pang
Praying for the here-after

The house lights flash, and comes a voice
Saying, "Do not flash cameras"
The empty pit then comes alive
Warming the orchestra

A silence falls across the house,
The actors' heartbeats skip
The curtain rises majestically
The tech crews grit their lips

The show goes on, with hitch or no
A separate yet collaborative work
The dance of sound and lights and crews
As sets change in the dark

The ever worried, coffee filled
Stage manager gives cues
And when the curtain falls again
All listen for the news

A clap, a roar, a standing row,
A silence dead as night?
A shriek for "encore!", or tomato?
Will the show take flight?

Afterwards, while actors mingle
Among remaining crowds
And all the techs reset the cues
And directors furl their brows

The house then empties once again
With echoes, all that's left
Until another show begins
In the silenced deft

At this time, as before
A solitary figure
Says, "Thank you," to the empty stage
And silent furniture.

It's impossible to explain
The pull of this, the theatre
But my soul is part of it's
Never-ending grandeur

It speaks to me, and calls my name
And I will always know
That this is truly home for me
Forever, on with the show!
Ode To The Theatre © 2002 by David E. Young.  All rights reserved. May not be copied or sold without express written permission from David E. Young.  May be shared on Social Media via the provided links or with included link to this page.