Fart in the wings


I was rehearsing this big play, the main role, in an important theatre with a director that I did not like very much.

In short, I was a bit miserable.

In the cast, there was also this old actor, whom I thought was not bad: he was kind of slower now and again but I remember I always liked the way he used to say his lines.

Being so distracted with my own ‘suffering’ I suppose, I did not actually notice when an idea emerged that the old actor was not that good and that he had to be booted out.

One morning, we had a kind of meeting. The old actor was still in his dressing room.

We were all sat here and there on stage and I really – but really – could not understand why everybody had those long faces, looking worried.

Relative silence: we were all waiting for the old actor to come, as I later realised.

After a few seconds, a long, elaborate, multi-faceted, sonorous, convoluted fart could be heard in the wings. I was the only one to sketch a smile. Everyone else was dead serious.

The old actor appears on stage.

We all pretend nothing happened. The director starts saying all kinds of crap – from what he was saying I did not understand there was a problem at all – and suddenly I see the old actor changing colour, going horribly faint and angry at the same time, starting to say how he had worked in that theatre for ages, how he had always been nice to everyone, etc.

When I finally started to understand, the old actor was acting like taking his things, although he had nothing there, on stage: all his stuff was in the dressing room.