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March 2, 2014

KNISELY: My first glimpse of stage life

(Continued)

I’ve been to McHale as an audience member, but this was my first trip behind the scenes. We entered through the dock to find stacks of woods, tools and remnants of past plays on the walls. Minus the wall art, I felt like I was in my father’s woodshop. For a place I had never been before, I felt oddly at home.

And then I encountered “the tunnel.”

For as bright as the shop was, the rear stage area was equally dark. It created a surreal space between the two. As I walked onto the backside of the stage, the sheer enormity of it all seemed to be swallowing me whole.

As I continued to walk forward, I transitioned back to a bright space. A walk that spanned only seconds and merely a few feet seemed to take an hour. It was as if time had come to a crawl. With each step that brought me closer to the front of the stage, my eyes focused only on the bright lights out in front. All other sights fell away to darkness.

Standing at the head of the stage looking out into the seats that would soon be filled, the fact that I was going to perform in my first play sank in hard.

The director came to stand next to me, likely to get a closer look at the combination of amazement and fear that had swept over my face.

I turned to her and said, “Wow, those are bright.”

With a laugh and a devious smile, she said, “Honey, those are just the working lights. Wait until they turn the stage lights on.”

And in that moment, this just got real.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at misty.knisely@pharostribune.com. Follow her on Twitter: @PharosMK

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