The Vapidity of Applause

Who are these people? I think they came to see me perform and applauded and called me to their table and bought me a drink. I think they gave me their card and insisted I call them the next morning because they had a gig/christmas party/connection for me and desperately wanted to help me escape from the mob club. Every performance felt like Christmas, or winning the lottery. I was surrounded with love and support. The world looked bright. “Laurel! I’ve missed you! ” Crooned the lisping lovely at table 2. “You’ve got to come to Boston and go clubbing with me! I know everyone in town! I can get you some private parties, give me your phone number, NOW, and I mean, NOW, darling….. Oh you look fabulous… you are just the Cat’s Meow” — What’s so wrong about believing them? Why would they lie to me? Does booze turn everyone into a liar, fraud, or just amnesiatic? A few days later, I call them on their promises. “Gee, Laurel, would love to talk, just out the door…can I get back to you later, love?” Later means never, and suddenly I have made the transition from Diva Darling to Door Mat.  Is it the peculiar relationship between performer and audience – the audience’s subversive attempt to level the playing field? Who are these people? What do they want? If they want it during the performance, why don’t they still want it three days later, whatever it is?  They want what I want. A continuation of the magic I weave through a room – the romance and escape of the theatrical extravaganza. But theatre is live and cannot be transferred, elongated, extended. The next morning, it’s only a memory fading quickly behind the backdrop of a hangover. That is performance. I wake up and there is no painting, no short story, no pottery or sculpture. There’s a heap of smoky clothes in the corner of my room, and phone numbers scratched on napkins, business cards with P.O. Box numbers, one earring – the other lost- a broken high heel, a bruise. I am full of hope as I dial the phone number of an insistent fan who has an idea in mind for me – a Valentine’s Party,  a cousin who manages a Four Seasons Hotel?, certainly I remember the offer of brunch, or was it a dream, all of it?

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