Things I would miss | Lola Arias

coming into the theatre through the back door
the smell of reheated pasta from the kantine
the inspizient’s voice over the speakers
the secrets in the corridors
the shadow of fear on the actors’ faces
as they sit facing the mirror before performing
the technicians nipping out for one last smoke
the mini TVs showing the empty room
waiting in the dark behind the set before going on stage
the dance of the audience entering the theatre in little groups
those who come in twos
those who come with friends and loud chatter
those who come alone desperately seeking out their companion
the people who stand up to let people pass
the people who just sit there looking at other people’s bottoms
the people who turn in their seats to stare at others
the restlessness before seeing something and I don’t know what it is
the start of a journey to nowhere
the silence of so many people watching something they’ve never seen before
the breathing of so many people sitting close together
understanding collectively something that I couldn’t have thought alone
the gestures that look like life but are not
the words that hang there floating like a cloud
the audience’s faces lit up by the light from the stage
the technicians’ faces lit up by the screens of their phones
the people who laugh out loud during the show
the laughter that makes you laugh
the laughter that splits the audience in two
the spectators who slam the door as they leave in the middle
the spectators who flee crouching in the dark
the spectators snoozing in their seats their heads drooping to one side
the thoughts
the telepathy of the audience when they think together
the fear that the play will end too soon
the fear that the play will never end
the strange time between the play ending and those who were on stage
and coming back to wave and bow
the spectators roused by the applause
the applause that sounds like things falling
the slow-motion applause of the disappointed
the fatigue in the body after you’ve been on stage
the awakening of the body after watching in silence
the players smiling as they wave because the play has now ended
the time to speak again after so long in silence
the people meeting again in the foyer after the performance
seeking out someone to talk about the play with
having nothing to say after a play
feeling like you’ve time travelled during a play
feeling like you’ve aged during a play
feeling like you’re someone else after a play
the life lost in the theatre
the things lost in the theatre
the endless nights
the smell of the empty dressing rooms

Lola Arias is an Argentinian writer, theatre and film director. She is a multifaceted artist whose work brings together people from different backgrounds in theatre, film, literature, music and visual art projects. With her film ‘Theatre of war’ she won i.a. the CICAE Art Cinema Award at Berlinale, Movistar and Prize for Best Documentary Film at Documenta Madrid and Best Director Award at the BAFICI Festival in Buenos Aires.