“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I see we have a command performance tonight, a very special show, for a very special man.”
And with that speech The Last Mask starts, and with that speech so does my first Blog. Welcome to the show.
As is tradition with a new Blog you need a name, something that is maybe clever or witty or attractive to the casual passer-by. So after careful pondering I came upon the title “Talking To Myself”
I could have called it something like “Clowning Around” or “Folly of Fools” but that might be expected from me, and people don’t want the expected do they?
“Talking To Myself” seemed like a good name as it was tied into the little speech we read at the start and the medium that we are currently using.
The Master of Ceremonies is performing to what might be an invisible audience and to me that summed up social media and the internet. We perform our show to an audience we believe is watching what we do with interest and excitement. We Tweet and Blog and hope that number following us are actually reading and being entertained by our words, but are we like the Master of Ceremonies performing to an audience only in his mind?
So Talking To Myself is the chosen title and I hope that there is someone out there in the theatre watching the show. That is the end of this opening Blog and I will leave you now with the first scene of The Last Mask with our Master of Ceremonies and the audience of his mind.
- Dramatis Personae -
Within the theatre sits a solitary old man. His face, painted white, flakes like the walls of a long abandoned abode; his weary eyes not moving from what stands before him, not questioning why he is all alone.
Chandeliers cast their dazzling light upon the auditorium, the dark ebony masks and gold-leafed cherubs of the surround glowing from the fake warmth. The smell of toffee and honey infuses the air, a sweet aroma giving a deceitful comfort to the one who is on his own, a deception of opulence and sanctuary to those who would be fooled.
And before it all rises the centre of this spectacle; from carved steps leading up to its lofty position, hidden behind the lush red curtains, the sheets of velvet beauty that conceal another world. A place tempting the mind of the audience to wonder what mysteries lurk beyond, the seductive expectation of the performance to come. The stage waits to reveal all that it has to show. This is a temple to the act, this is the ground upon which greatness is performed; this is the theatre of the mind.
The fanfare soars around the auditorium, the atmosphere lifting in eagerness at what is to begin, the pulse of those gathered beating with anticipation.
A bright circle of light flashes onto the sumptuous curtains as the host for the evening strolls across the apron of the stage; he is the Master of Ceremonies, the dandy in the sharp black suit, the impresario with the bright mask of colour and life.
The host bows to the old man, and then looks around the rest of the empty auditorium, smiling at faces that only he seems to see.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I see we have a command performance tonight, a very special show, for a very special man. Mister Scamboldi, will you take a bow?”
The audience doesn’t stir, even though the Master of Ceremonies waits for his rapturous welcome, and the old man doesn't bow.
“Oh you are all too kind, thank you, thank you,” says the Master of Ceremonies, gesturing towards all the empty seats, his smile a broad dark welcome.
The old man looks on unmoving, the old man is tired.
“Well, without further ado, I say it is time to get on with the show, do you not all agree?”
There is only silence.
“So what do we have for you tonight, what kind of performance are we presenting for your glorification, for your amusement and disdain? Well fear not, ladies and gentlemen, for we have a stupendous show for you all.”
The Master of Ceremonies pauses for drama, feeding off the anticipation of an audience that only exists in his eyes.
“Upon a very different stage another story is unfolding,” he continues, in excited tones. “It is a tale of identity, a tale of tradition, a tale of so much pain and suffering that you will weep with joy. Oh and did I mention the clowns? So dim the lights please. Welcome to the theatre of the mind, Mister Scamboldi, we hope you enjoy the show.”
The Master of Ceremonies gracefully exits the stage, as the lights begin to fade and the curtains slowly rise.
And finally, as darkness envelopes the theatre, the show begins.
The Last Mask - Tradition copyright 2011 Stephen Winterflood