The Point of a Threshold

Something amazing happened the other day, though it was not quite as amazing as it was odd, and by odd I mean not something you would normally see in a physical form outside a metaphor or a symbol.

I am in the play The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare in my town and last night we had a dress rehearsal. I was standing off to the side of the stage were no one could see me so I could watch the other actors perform. As I gazed out at the stage my eye kept reverting to the actress who played Bianca. I watched her speak her lines and begin to prance off the stage, remaining poised and expressing a sense of smug satisfaction as her character did call for. Then, just as every other actor had done numerous times, she stepped up the ramp and descended into the darkness not far from where I was standing. As she walked passed me Bianca's expression fell and she was Jenni once more (for the sake of reasoning let's say that was her real name). But something in that split second utterly amazed me. Had it not, I would not be writing this.

What fascinated me wasn't how easily Bianca turned into Jenni behind the stage, what fascinated me was at which point in time she turned into Jenni. As she stepped up the ramp, she knew as well as anyone else did that the audience could no longer see her, and yet she remained Bianca. That's when the transition between Bianca and Jenni occurred. The timing was what truly fascinated me. For some reason, even after Jenni knew in split second that she did not have to be Bianca, she still withheld that face and emotion. Why? Everyone back stage knew she was really Jenni; she didn't need to fool anyone once the heavy gaze of the audience was cast aside. Bianca was Jenni once more only after she passed me seconds later.

This may sound ridiculous, but what took her so long to make that incredible transformation? What was she thinking as she made that transition? Was her connection with her character so powerful that she could not simply throw off Bianca's mask like it was nothing? Were her emotions somehow connected to Bianca to the extent that she had to ease herself from character to character? Maybe it wasn't the emotions that got in the way; maybe it was that she needed time to work herself into Jenni as if Jenni was the role. Maybe 'Jenni' is just another character that hides that true girl no one really knows. That happens to be the case for many other people, why not her? Then again, it might not have been a matter of character but a simple working of the human mind. Perhaps the human brain cannot simply process such a strong emotion or character that quickly. Maybe acting is truly a love of Jenni's and she actually becomes her character to the extent that her brain cannot tell the difference between Bianca and Jenni in just a mere split second. I know a split second may sound demanding in this case, but I assure you it is not. My entire thought process, which took you maybe a few minutes to read and for me a half-hour to explain, unfolded in my head in a split seconds. Amazing, no?

There is an invisible archway that separates the stage from back-stage, the spotlight from the darkness, and the act from the actors. When Bianca crossed that threshold it was as if the archway was not there. Not at the point was the light stops or where the audience can no longer see. Perhaps I miscalculated, or perhaps Jenni's archway is somewhere else; and if everything I told you formed in my head in a split second, I can only image the depths of Jenni's thoughts that delayed her for one full second. That is what amazes me, and now I can only wonder at which point her threshold lies.

sorry I have not updated S a g e yet. As you can see, I have been in an english play for our town (a play of which I understood nothing, lol) but tonight is the last preformance so after that I can get back to writing. Until then...

Sinnakura Noihseret