What I can't see, I think of often

A new RPO season kicks off Saturday, October 6th, and this got me thinking about Eastman Theatre and my own sense of the place. A couple of years ago, I got a tour of the performance hall built by Kodak magnate George Eastman. I had been there many times before, both as an audience member and a performer. But this was different, and I was pretty excited. This was the complete tour, from the roof to the basement. I studied details I hadn’t before, such as murals of Psyche and Cupid hanging in the lobby, the faux stonework, and a copy of a painting by Maxfield Parrish. I really LOOKED at the busts of Bach and Beethoven guarding the emergency exits. But the most amazing thing was out of sight. The guy giving the tour invited me to climb a narrow set of stairs to a cavernous, unlit space between the roof and the ceiling. We crept fifty feet across a wooden catwalk, shimmied under a metal pipe, and stood over the two and a half ton chandelier. I peered down through open slats to rows and rows of red velvet seats three stories below. When my head started to spin, I laughed out loud. Sometimes I think of that dark place. I’ll suddenly remember how it hovers up there all the time, vast, dark, and unseen.

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