Goodness, that's better!
For the first time, I feel at home in this theatre. It's been an odd couple of weeks, not having a heck of a lot to do, and this is the first time I'd managed to attend a proper rehearsal. All my colleagues seem to be singing in one or other of the productions currently in preparation, so I've been cycling in for an hour's coaching here and there, then mooching off again alone. Part of the problem has been that, very unusually for a theatre, the canteen has been closed until a couple of days ago (something to do with politics). Normally, you hole up in there until you've nattered to a few people, who then tell you what's what - but that hasn't been an option.
One result of this has been that I haven't properly explored the theatre space. Being backstage does odd things to the space/time continuum, and, rather embarrassingly, I have to admit that I had no idea how to get into the auditorium to watch anything! There was a likely-looking door, but never anyone around at the right moment to ask - I was terrified of opening it and flooding the darkened space with light, silhouetted against the opening and never spoken to again... (yes well I haven't been keeping my imagination fully occupied, have I?). I finally asked about this, checked three times to make sure, then slid through (all, as it turns out, very harmless) to watch the B.O. (Bühnenorchesterprobe, or stage and orchestral rehearsal) for Carmen. I wanted to do things properly, so I asked the director if I might watch - he said to ask the conductor, as it was her rehearsal. (Then I had to work out how to get from the auditorium to the orchestra pit etc - oh, these things are never easy!). Luckily the conductor was lovely and I started to feel at home.
I found myself a seat at the back, and as the lights dimmed, something inside me relaxed. It's not about being on stage, necessarily; it's the whole experience - the smells, the energy, the people.
The first chords of the overture to Carmen rang out brilliantly, and I settled back into my seat to listen to my colleagues doing a wonderful job, and thought, ah, I'm home!