The actors finish and leave the stage.  There is a smattering of applause from the half-full theater, and the actors just keep walking. In full costume out the back door into the street and home. The applause intensifies in the theater, the audience attempting to call them back, to restart the action of the stage.

They will clap all night, but no one is there to hear them. The stage door stands open to the alley, empty.

1 thought on “Applause

  1. Sappho is smearing on her makeup at 5 a.m. in the woods by the hotel.
    He She Me Thou disappears

    Now resembling a Beijing concubine Sappho makes her way onto the set.
    Laugh Breathe Look Speak Is disappears

    The lighting men are setting up huge white paper moons here and there on the grass.
    Tongue Flesh Fire Eyes Sound disappears

    Behind these, a lamp humming with a thousand broken wasps.
    Cold Shaking Green Little Death disappears

    “Places everyone,” calls the director.
    Nearness When Down In I disappears

    “Toes to the line please,” says the assistant cameraman.
    But All And Must To disappears

    Disappears disappears

    Sappho stares into the camera and begins, “Since I am a poor man–”

    –Anne Carson
    “TV Men: Sappho” from Men in the Off Hours (Vintage, 2000)

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