Ironic, or Apt

Fifty-seven years of stagecraft.

Miller, Albee, Mamet, Moliere.

And Shakespeare. Troilus, Henry IV, Oberon,  Macbeth.

Stunned at his pale face hanging in the mirror as he wiped the Ben Nye from his eyes with cold cream.

This he could still do without thought.

Ironic, or maybe apt.

He closed his eyes again, tried to summon the line as he had onstage.

No, no, no, no! Come, let’s away to prison;

And then nothing.

The stunned silence of the audience turning to unease and finally to derision at the sight of a mute Lear while burning shame consumed him like a house fire.

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  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    I could feel the panic rising. I imagine that’s an issue with aging actors. Loved the image of removing the Ben Nye. I’ve done theater and relate to the texture and scent. Well staged.



    • J Hardy Carroll

      Thanks! I watch an actor like Brian Cox who knows so much Shakespeare and imagine what it would be like to lose that in public. This has to be one of the great nightmares of all actors. I’m sure it’s probably happened, too.

  2. pennygadd51

    What a nightmare! It’s common enough to suddenly feel you don’t know the next line, but if you relax and just speak, out it comes. If that mercy were to suddenly end…
    I shall have sleepless nights now!
    You told this story beautifully, Josh, and made it hideously credible.

  3. Na'ama Yehuda

    Oy, poor thing. Sigh. I wish someone had helped him realize he might’ve needed to quit earlier. Though if it is sudden, he may not have had a warning (and a medical investigation may be overdue in either case…). Oy.

  4. Innerdialects

    As in life and reality…. ugh truth, writ in terse abs. drama. Loved it. I’ve done theatre, and this one brought back the sweat of onstage lights, the palpable breath of audience…. that tension is a Thing!

Don't just stand there.