Curtains go up on a scene
whose rear walls are shaking;
stagehands clear the background.
Spotlights on at the cast’s entrance.
I am your memory, he says,
the back rows whistle, heat
rises from our seats to the LEDs’
green flicker on the ceiling.
the script stumbles over line breaks
interrupted by adverts for bleach,
toothpaste, locally sourced colours.
Cheer at the hue glazed upper circle,
long sigh at the back when the speed
of a camera flash sets off a fire alarm.
Curtains down for emergency exit.
We push against tar-water dams,
open floodgates then move
to the front for a better view.
The theatre holds the roof up.
Every moment of terror begins like this.
It matches our lives, us performing onstage.
Painting Rupert Loydell