By Ryan Schexnayder • October 10, 2016
Remember that promising actor from not so long ago? You would regularly sit in the theater and watch his plays unfold. He wasn't bad, but over the years his work had become very sloppy. His performances were now unpredictable. As attendance numbers dwindled, what was once a potentially good play was becoming a waste of your time and money. A movie ticket to be thrown away halfway in. Eventually, the entire show he'd put on was a pile of shit and everyone saw it.
It made you sick to think that for so long, you had looked on and patiently waited for this asshole to make you laugh, cry, or feel some form of emotion. That's what someone driving a strong play has the potential to do- at least that's what you once believed. The current scenario had left you- the spectator- trying to find anything good about the situation. But you weren't having any luck with that. Everything sucked (very, very badly).
Surprise. Your outlook was miserable. Shit happens and at that point, you were over your head in it.
One day, you finally summoned the courage to take the stage. You side- stepped the lousy actor and, with no hesitation whatsoever, you confidently stood front and center. You didn't give a damn about the audience, nor did you care about any of your surroundings. None of it mattered at that moment. You were simply tired of watching someone else barely hold the spot light for so long. They were slowly dying and the lights were beginning to fade. You had gained nothing from the environment he'd created. No one really had. What a waste it had been. You became hellbent on not losing any more of your investment in this film.
There's still no telling what caused you to take the stage for the first time that day, but its safe to say that you- the spectator- had decided to introduce your own flavor to that dying venue. You dove into the performance with nothing but your own character in mind. There was no acting. You hadn't really learned anything from that word anyway. You made your way to the platform and displayed your own talents. Admittedly, It had appeared to be a simple concept from your comfortable seat, but it really was a son of a bitch to pull off that day. You were being critiqued now. Your performance would make or break the struggling theater. But you stood a better chance than the actor standing behind you.
Words will never be able to convey the vision you had in mind that day. You knew something very serious was going within you, and you wanted to address it the only way you knew how. It was detrimental to you, almost as if your life depended upon it as much as the success of the theater.Theres no ointment for that itch. No degree will ever be able to diagnose a burn on that level. No words can fully reflect the feeling of it because, by nature, it was a feeling driven by action. Therefore, a spectator could never utilize it.
You brought yourself into the spotlight for an audition that day, and what transpired can only be described as a masterpiece. Some people would call it "miraculous", but you refused to accept that level of praise. Recalling it as best you could, you felt that the stage had an indescribable "aura" to it that day. The audience may or may not have experienced it, but from where you stood, there was no denying it. One hell of an impression had been made. However big or small, your performance had set a very positive standard. Whether it was a spiritually-driven step forward, or a revelation you simply can't explain, you absolutely knew it was a gift from someone or something outside of yourself. It was a performance that would lead to many more opportunities, and the theater now had some life to it. Maybe it wouldn't die, after all!
Ultimately, you did nothing but your part, and you were assisted by an unseen force. You weren't alone on that stage. That was not your theory- it was your concrete reality. You felt awesome (very, very awesome).
Surprise. You had begun to see your life a little differently. It started when you got out of your seat and tried a new approach.
During this process, your eyes began to open to other realities as well. You realized that the stage clown before you was not another person whatsoever. The pathetic actor you'd come to loathe all these years had been you the entire time. It was a harsh reality to face, but you had been the flop of the industry. All those negative reviews you'd given him, you'd actually given yourself. Continuing to stand proud on stage, you acknowlged a hard fact- you'd been your own worst critic for the better part of your career.
Like one of the "nicer" slaps to the face, you noticed something else had changed- the curtains were still open, but there was no audience present. Not one single person was anywhere in the auditorium but you. No one. That ground breaking play wasn't witnessed by anyone. But how? And, if nothing else, why? If it was that brilliant, surely someone had seen it. Where was the applause? You opened your eyes a little wider.. Then it hit you, and what a change of perspective it was.
You weren't fully aware of who had constructed it, but this had been your theater from day one. Top to bottom, left to right. Every aspect of the massive place was left to you. Dealing with all angles of it was your responsibility. Ticket sales had no bearing on its survival. They never did. You were also the only audience member, which ultimately made your role a critical one. This establishment's past, present and future livelihood all depended solely on one thing- the reviews it received from its audience. You could single handedly make or break it.
At that point, you became convinced that the place was going to get progressively better. You knew this in your heart, because the atmosphere around you was no longer cold. You felt this in your soul, because your one audience member was you, and you were full of satisfaction. You were finally feeling hopeful. That's all that mattered to you then (come to think, that's about all you really ever needed).
The previous harsh, negative episodes that once aired would be replaced with more insightful and encouraging premieres. You'd begun to know yourself on a level never before seen, and you had full confidence going forward. You were keeping that. It marked your first satisfying reality about yourself. It felt very, very awesome.
Surprise. Your actions made a difference in your outlook on life that day. You started to realize that some changes could only be made by you.
Being capable of change is one thing, but some things can't be accomplished alone. Your audition's success that day was one of them. You acknowledged that this was not your doing. It was your theater, but someone else had definitely run the show on this particular evening. You looked around one more time. In the vast space belonging to you, the only thing really worth noting were the spotlights above your head. You had just recently noticed that they never went out. Not once since the first day of the theater.You had faith in them for a reason. They'd kept your establishment lit from day one- all the way through your darkest acting. Some lights, huh?
As the curtains began to close, you noticed someone applauding you from the furthest corner of the theater. After everything you'd just experienced, you didn't consider it to be all that odd. Nevertheless, you remained somewhat curious... The figure strided closer and closer as the applause grew louder. Somehow, this solo applause was beginning to fill the entire theater. Grateful to have had one person watching you all this time, you slowly and sincerely bowed for the unknown visitor.
As you proudly resumed your initial stage form, beautiful applause now resonating throughout the entire auditorium, something unexpected happened. The curtains suddenly froze. The applause stopped. The theater gradually fell dim and faded to black. Your first real play was a huge success, but you knew it wasn't the end just yet.
It came as no surprise to you that those overhead spotlights remained in place in the theater's absence. You were able to see all around you with crystal clarity. They were brighter than ever as you stood there. You looked up at them and you couldn't help but feel gratitude. You admired them briefly, and felt that (very very) awesome feeling again. Setting your sights ahead, your eyes suddenly locked into place. They were stuck on someone else.
The applauding spectator hadn't faded out earlier. As he now stood two feet away from you, everything made sense. Similarly to waking from a dream, you had found yourself standing in front of a mirror. That applauding spectator was you, and reflected something you had never seen before. The man in the mirror was everything you'd been searching for. Something told you his reviews of you would likely be just as awesome. Probably very, very awesome.
There were no more more surprises after that. It was your reality.
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