A Comic Tragedy at one of the rehearsals

The Rehearsal

From the “A Journey” Exhibition

I am in the rehearsal room of the Abbey Theatre on the top floor. Rain is streaking the glass, clinging to the windows that stretch the full width of the large room. The stage is marked out on the floor and actors are all in positions.

Soon they will have the dress rehearsal. Stage manager busies himself with props. Costume designer comes in intermittently to check details. Stage designer darts his busy energy about.

Silence is drawn over the room like a white silk mist as emotions come to a climax. The director watches, listening intensely for the slightest intonation. The author jabs his mouth with his ball point in deep conversation. I am in the background still and soundless.  The only movement from my pastel stick as I sketch the actor in front of me.

Crash, bang! Everybody jumps clearing their seats together like travelers in a fast moving bus going over a hump-backed bridge. Somebody shrieks. My eyes open wide in disbelief, and I freeze in my chair. It’s me, my paintbox has just crashed to the floor spilling its content with a loud bang. I look up suddenly, straight into a dark McCann eye that gives me a dark McCann wink. There is a laughter in the other eye.