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A Night at the Theatre

One star in the darkness
A tiny window glowing
A speck of light in the endless night –
This is where we’re going…
Follow me on soundless wings
Towards this shining place
Feel yourself grow warm and real
As you enter its embrace
And shake the cold from your lazy limbs
Let life stretch out your bones
And, blinking in the sudden light
Breathe in the scent of home
Allow me, Sir and Madam
To take your hat and coat
Your scarf and gloves and muffler
And the diamonds at your throat
Your watch and chain and mobile phone
Your wallet and your keys
And now you all are ready
So follow this way, please…

The auditorium lies within, somewhere straight ahead
Come with me down corridors, soft and deep and red
The air is thick and warm as you slip in through the doors
Into a darkness flecked with gold, and, just above the stalls
The circle and the gallery, high up in the gods
In the shadows sits a figure, who looks down at you and nods
The audience is waiting – find a space, take a seat
And the lamps will slowly dim until the blackness is complete
There’s a movement from behind you, a shadow deep as death
And empty as eternity, will make you catch your breath
A moment of confusion – a fluttering in the dark
The sound of rustling paper wings, then suddenly – a spark
Small at first, but slowly growing, crackling in the gloom
Until above your heads there spins a full and sparkling moon
That fills the auditorium – a luminous balloon
Which holds a sleeping figure in its white and glowing womb
A sudden pulsing shakes the air, the body slowly stirs
And the moon folds in upon itself with tiny clicks and whirrs
Little shards of lightning they flicker and uncurl
And the figure grows and crackles as its arms and legs unfurl
And you gasp in wonder as the wings roll out from side to side
And the Aviator stands up tall with white arms open wide
Flying cap and goggles, a propellor at his throat
He stretches out his fingers and adjusts his long white coat
Sculpted out of frozen cloud he looks down from the ceiling
Towering over all of you his voice betrays no feeling
His stony lips unmoving, but his eyes shine, full of life
his words cut through the shadows like a blazing, ice-cold knife…

‘And who will be next?’ he says, he says
‘And who will be next?’ says he

(The audience shrouded in darkness, stirs, and mutters uneasily…)

‘And will it be you? Or maybe her?
Or him? Or them? Or thee?
I feel your fearful longing
As head and heart disagree
For the spirit yearns to step on the stage
And join the grand parade
But your body is weak, and you stay in your seat
Til the flickering house-lights fade…
No matter – you all have a part in the play
And the dressing room door lies open
I will wake you from your slumber
And you will come because I have spoken
And make your choice of costume from the millions on display
We have every creed and colour, for every class and age
Be ready to learn your lines, for all of you, sooner or later
Will stand upon this stage, and follow the Aviator…’

So come this way my friends
For his finger points at you
Follow the others into the wings
And join the backstage queue
Choose your costume carefully
And try it on for size
Then up to the stage in a jostling group
To hide from the audience’ eyes
Behind the deep red curtain
You line up with your props
Adjust your wig and spectacles
And hear the backdrops drop
The house-lights dim, the stage is set
In character, you pose
The drama of your life begins
So welcome to the show…

The overture is ending, the curtain slowly rises
The people all around you are safe in their disguises
The Aviator points and the spotlight falls on you
Time to act, my friend –

What are you going to do?

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