Ready, set, go! I rush up ten stairs, already late, turn left, take three short steps – scramble quick up the next eleven stairs. Just another weekday rehearsal for Deadwood Dick, or the Game of Gold. The theater, small, very old and probably built over a hundred years ago.
Top of the step, as I catch my breath, a strong aroma inundates me.
Not at all offensive, but rather, an enjoyable nostalgic scent. My eyes close and I inhale – the old west. Two weary settlers, with powdery red dirt across their weather line faces, shuffle in old worn leather boots.
strong tobacco cloud
continues to drift in time
coughs the building walls
I remember reading this building once bustled as a popular saloon, with red velvety wallpaper, a swinging bar room door, and a don’t-shoot-the-piano player in the left corner of the room.
bar gals in ruffles
entertains gold rush miners
cards and whiskey shots
The director’s booming voice! I snap quick back to reality. He moves his cast of eighteen across the stage in logical order – his chess pieces. Feisty Calamity Jane (not me) idly chats with Chet – her Man Trap Saloon bartender. Center stage, evil Black ’n Red kidnaps my beautiful long-lost stage daughter, Lily. Eventually, I, and my burly stage husband, Sheriff Loveless, and host of others, perfect scenes, and at long last – family reunited.
The final day, in vintage western costumes, our last director’s cue line: Break-a-leg!
spotlights on Wild Bill and Ned
gunfight with villain
Show after show, the audiences hail the performances a success, though, seems nothing good can last. Fatigue or stress? Calamity and Blackburn, real life hotheaded couple begin to unravel between acts. Dressing room, another drama unfurl – accusations and denial of unfaithfulness.
Camaraderie between cast members wanes.
Without stand ins, the director desperately calls for order. But with focus broken, I begin to feel the parch of the desert, dropping line after line. The final blow comes when others succumb and we all stumble desperately in the heat of the spotlight.
too many pauses
stirs audience to wonder –
is this Death Valley?
“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.” – Sallust
Inspiration: Ligo Haibun Challenge | Quote Week and
a bit more of a challenge added…come up with a Haibun with a minimum of 345 words, inclusive.