Last night I dreamed of a ruined theatre. White painted boards shot out bold lines into decayed seats, still reaching for applause. Where wings and flies once stood ready were the rocks and ice of collapse and nature taking back its own. Most of all I remember the ice, great blue-white crystals of clean cold that seem, on waking, to have been out of place in the artifice. Did their magnificence reflect the grandeur of the ruin’s past glory? If I had stopped to look into their facets, would I have seen ladies in great white gowns, villains with dulcet voices, deaths and lives, triumph and tragedy? Or was I dreaming about hiking before I found this place?
In the rubble we found musical instruments, the slides of trombones and other brass pieces still golden in the half light. “People often go digging in those ruins”, the internet told us. I grabbed a pair of curved metal pipes and carried them away into the light, deciding these must be seen. Lined up in a corridor, still waiting at iron stands without music sheets, an orchestra of guitar and drum and flute and pipe and organ were abandoned together in neat rows. “I’ve been wanting a guitar!” I exclaimed, my fingertips touching the sleek, thin neck of a brightly-colored electric number. “Not that one,” someone said.
Stepping through the dust of the audience with the hush of ghosts, my eyes were lifted to small ornate balconies perched high on the walls. Just large enough for a body or two. I wondered which ones were ornamentation and which ones were real. If this were my theatre, I would know the secret routes and passages to all of them.
Outside, other buildings, clerical and educational and sterile, retained their inoffensive paint and blocky modern lines. Once they were only support for the ruin, now they existed in their heartless function, maintaining that life remains outside the velvet and shadows. We know otherwise.