Last scene seemingly enacted,
the curtain’s closing due to ensue,
a worn pulley jams
leaving long, gathered velvet pleats
strung-up in the rafters.
Bows not yet cued, the players trudge about the stage
with no witty lines to further engage.
All character development is stayed;
as the cast of regal protagonists and witches,
the gravediggers, ghosts, and fools
who just performed so convincingly,
drift toward the wings confused.
These crafty thespians who wove a web of lively scenes
our playwright spun into five enthralling acts,
shuffle, befuddled under lights askew.
Glance, vexed at the vacant prompter’s box,
unable to improvise a new ending to the original text.
The director paces frantically stage-left
alternately tugging at his red goatee,
then fussing with the satin ascot knotted ‘round his neck.
“Someone say something!” he implores a passing player,
pushing him on to a spot of bright light.
“Ah, umm”... “These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.”…*
“Oh, no, not that.” growls the director, pulling tousled hair,
pushing an actor clad in armor onto the stage.
“he's a coward and a coystrill (ka-clank!)
that will not drink to my niece till his brains turn
o' the toe like a parish-top. What, (clank!) wench!
Castiliano vulgo! for here comes (ka-clank!) Sir Andrew Agueface.”**
No, that won’t do it!” the director yells
while grabbing a passing actress by the arm,
turning her out toward the action,
urging her to “wrap the thing up. It’s a wrap, wrap it up, now!”
“A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:--
'Give me,' quoth I:
'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries…”***
“No, that won’t work!” barks the director,
shaking his now crimson face from side to side.
Another player steps out into the light to try;
“as the nail to his
hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen
to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the
friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin..”****
“Oh no, no!” the livid director stomps on to center stage;
with agape audience transfixed by the stunning display.
“Curtain! Lower the damn curtain!” hollers the director
wagging a finger, looking up into the rafters.
The frantic stagehand perched on-high, on a catwalk
starts tugging ropes and kicking dangling sandbags.
Suddenly, the curtain comes a-crashing down,
it’s dead weight falling
directly on the director.
Woozy, to gasps and a pattering of claps
he struggles to rise up, stumbling
over a morass of purple cloth,
while pulling thick rope off his shoulders.
The playgoers stay in their seats,
waiting for a cue to confirm the action over.
For a prompt; some sort of signal to them
that this, this time, it really was
* Shakespeare - Julius Caesar
** Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
*** Shakespeare - Macbeth
****Shakespeare - All's Well That Ends Well
Copyright © mark goldstein | Year Posted 2020