Aug 24, 2022–Every bar is an empty stage. You are the show.
Think about it. Evening after evening, the regulars gather early as if they were members of the Algonquin Round Table. They find their front row seats, as much to be seen as to see. Drinks are served, and bets are placed on the evening’s promise.
Without script, plot, or actors, the self-appointed taste-makers simultaneously anticipate and critique the coming performance.
Next, the actors filter in, in singles, duos, and groups. Those innocents are unaware of their impending role in this unscripted drama. Nonetheless, everyone feels the excitement of opening night.
As the cast assembles, a script is improvised. What secret is that young woman sitting alone at the end of the bar hiding? Which member of the group of 30-somethings is being celebrated? Why is that older couple that is avoiding eye contact still together?
Drinks flow, inhibitions fall. The chorus assembles, the music rises. The show begins.
Within one hour, everyone knows everyone else. Without direct interaction, each actor performs their role as if de Mille is directing.
What is the plot?
Jokes, conversation, flirtation. There is the crotchety elder, the pompous bore, the ingenue, the wisecracking woman. The servers carefully choreograph the show, moving silently, drawing in the shy, tamping down the obnoxious.
With luck, eager actors, and heightened mood, the show will be memorable. Maybe not dancing on the tables, but at the end of the appointed time, every patron will shuffle away with the feeling their life was enhanced by this evening away from the routine of earning a living. An especially powerful performance can leave participants wistful, wondering if they will rise to that level again.
But it is a show. That is what keeps them coming back–the hope tomorrow’s show will be just as entertaining.
What if we looked at every part of our life as a stage?
We’ve heard and known about the person who “lights up the room” when they enter. It’s de rigueur in every funeral eulogy You are either that person or one of the corps de ballet in the background.
Let’s take another example–Grocery Shopping.
How many of you plan your trips to the grocery store as if you are walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards?
Shopping list? Check.
Coupons or flyer? Check.
Calculation of traffic count according to day of week and time of day? Check, at least when it’s not an emergency excursion to pick up chocolate mint ice cream.
Cruising the parking lot for a slot near the door but not next to the cart return? Check.
Here’s the topper–Selecting the proper outfit, makeup, hair condition to not embarrass the preacher/teacher/candlestick maker? Not always Check. (Pro Tip: If you want to bump into an important client, go shopping in cutoffs, torn shirt, and zip-tied crocs.)
Don’t tell me a trip to H-E-B is not a grand entrance in Act II.
This is not bad. “Going out” is what keeps us from caving in.
It is easy hanging out in the wings. There is no need to look good, sound intelligent, or perform. But nothing happens in the theater lobby. No one goes home from the play talking about how efficiently the ushers ushed, how the ticketers ticketed, or how splatter-free the porcelain was. No, we talk about what happened on stage.
As someone once said, that’s what all the world is. Embrace it. Be the star.