Recently in the final check out of a circle conversation, I was framed as having been ‘…in the background’. The others in the circle were each thanked by name for offering such insight in the conversations…
What’s the big fuss about, you might ask? Remember, Power in Making Tea…? Its tricky business being in the space of holding all that goes on in the foreground, and that those of us ‘back stage’ could be deemed less important, or even immaterial. Certainly, we’re less visible – and maybe that’s where the tension lies. Our mastery is simply unseen – and therefore often, misunderstood.
Remembering my theatre days with the family - my Dad, Auntie Biddy, Uncle Keith, Grandpa, my sister Ginia and brother Mark, were all on stage – with all but us children taking the leading roles. Mum was playing the piano in the ‘pit’, with the rest of the orchestra and Grandma was the Director. But this onstage role was not my preferred option, even though from the age of three, I with Mark and Ginia were Whitby’s version of the Von Trapp Family Singers…and we were good!
So slowly I retreated into the wings and hosted the props department, assisting the actors entering stage left of stage right with ‘things’ – be it a glass, a dagger or anything else that animated the play appropriately. So, in reality, I was more comfortable in the background – and in fact I placed myself well, to be of best service.
Yet, crucial to the health of the theatre company – and the power of the performance – was that all roles were seen as vital for the show to go on. Even the back stage manager was heartily pushed on stage on final performance night to receive his just deserved applause. It was as if this witnessing allowed us again and again to take our places of power to enable the whole performance to unfold – and most importantly, for the stage actors to give of their best.
It is therefore heartening to honour the gifts of one another too – and perhaps the edge, is being able to see all of them, including the ones less visible.
I too believe that all these aspects found in a theatre company also reside in each of us – not just as we form different constellations. So it is important that we recognise our own field nature – sometimes without the need for recognition or applause – and simply know where our power-preference and presence exists. Sometime, though it is not always easy to do…!
So I am grateful for the edge that I understood in the recent call…and the gift of insight offered – now, centre stage…!