Darkness, as far as the eye can see.
Rumblings of hushed talking can be heard as the scene closes and the spotlights avert their omnipotent gaze, with the audience and stage alike left in an all-consuming darkness.
A spotlight fires up, its beam illuminating an empty spot on the pavement inside the open barn at O’Keefe Ranch.
Off stage, his stomach churns. He’s never been on stage before, let alone on stage in theatre in the round. His palms begin to sweat and his mind fogs. But there’s no escape from his fate now, and he steps toward the light.
Eyes peer at him through the darkness, and a palpable excitment rises in him, filling his scantily clad chest — as per show requirments — when he enters the spotlight.
“I would like, if I may,” he pauses. “To take you on a strange journey.”
Thirteen — a baker’s dozen — that’s how many words it took before he became enveloped and entranced by the world of theatre. Rambling through the rest of his lines and looking up to the spotlight he knows it — he can feel it deep within.
Quickly, he turns and leaves the stage as the spotlight fades. With only a few lines later on in the evening, he knows too that his 15 minutes of fame is coming to an end.
Through the barrier of an audience, he can hear its tantalizing sounds, calling him back to the stage as Riff Raff and Magenta take Brad Majors and Janet Weiss into their “loving” hospitality.
And, as their castle door closes, his opens. It’s time for him to return to the stage. Although, this time, he’s even more nervous than before. His knees shake and his heart pounds, threatening to shake the ground beneath him as he makes his way back to the spotlight.
“And so, after braving the inclement weather and some not too little time, it seemed that fortune had smiled on Brad and Janet and they had found the assistance that their plight required.”
The words flowed from him as he — a quiet, ordinary, Saskatchewan man — summed up the courage to project as loud and far as he could, while attempting to sound as ominous as possible.
“There was certainly something about this house, to which a flat tire and a wet night had brought them, that made them both feel … apprehensive and uneasy. But, if they were to reach their destination that night, they would have to ignore such feelings and take advantage of whatever help was offered.”
Offered — it was a word that held weight in his mind. Three months prior, at the end of the summer, he was offered a role as a celebrity guest narrator in Big Apple Productions Rocky Horror Show. For him, a regular Joe who had never been on stage before, it was an offer he simultaneously feared and loved.
Offered — it was a fitting word to both begin and end his career. And as that final word lingered on his tongue, he knew it all too well.
Mustering all that remained within him, he poured everything into that one word, for if it was to be his last, he wanted to enjoy it.
And so, as the spotlight dimmed once again, he turned away from the audience, leaving both them and his theatre career behind.