Cloud of Witnesses

From the back of the room came a small still voice. “So, that’s it then?”

The actors looked at each other. Expecting applause for the end of the show, the traditional curtain call, they instead received a simple question. The principal actor, a tall man with many roles to his credit, shaded his eyes with one hand, looking for the director, or someone in charge who could perhaps answer the query, but, alas, the room was empty. Where had the audience all gone, or had they ever been there at all?

“So, that’s it then?”

The stage lights dimmed as the house lights came up revealing a bare theatre to all the actors.

“Who’s there?” asked one of the actors, a petite woman who starved herself into her ballerina costume and hated the taste of cigarettes. “Come out. We can’t see you.”

The actors again looked at each other, nervous, seeking answers. No one appeared. Not sure what else to do, one at a time, the actors began to leave the stage, disappearing beyond the folds of the curtain. Some of the performers held back, realizing that those who had left had done more than just exited, the egressed actors had vanished.

“Now what?” asked the ballerina to the Canadian Mounty who only appeared as comic relief in the third and final act and had no lines to speak.

He shrugged. Stepping to the edge of the thrust stage, he squatted, placed one hand on the stage floor, and jumped down to the house floor. He did not disappear.

The other actors clambered down to join him. Together, the strode up the aisles toward the source of the questioning voice.

“So,” came the voice again. “That’s it then.”