Sharing the Stage
Several weeks ago I played an outdoor concert on the streets of a quaint town in Italy. Everything was going well until the middle of my show when a woman joined me on the stage. I wasn’t sure what she was doing until I saw that she was she was filming me. She wasn’t a hip young film savvy gal with a nice camera, but rather an older-looking woman with short curly hair and an ankle-length skirt. Her weapon of film choice: a handy cam from the year 2001. Since I was in mid song, I continued to play pretending that she wasn’t there; however, her presence became harder to ignore as she became more comfortable sharing the stage with me. At times she would go to the front of the stage and had the nerve to stand between me and my audience. Then she began to walk in circles around me in a wanna-be-Devin-Graham style. It was so hard to focus on my performance while I felt like the center of a senior citizen carousel. At the end of the song she stopped and went to the back of the stage.
“That was weird” I thought and I introduced the next song. As soon as I struck my bow to the violin strings to play, there she was again, front and center and everywhere on stage that I was trying to be. Rather than her avoiding me, I found myself adapting my choreography and movements to stay as far away from her as possible. It was like an awkward one-sided dance routine. Everyone in the audience was as distracted as I, that is except for the beaming faces of the event promoters. It was obvious that they hired her and her ancient handi cam to record the show. I was praying that the audience would know that she was not in affiliation with me. It was like when you’re at a party and that guy (ya know…the really rude, obnoxious guy) is following you around and you want to yell out, “He’s not with me!” Yeah, that’s what I wanted to say. I wanted to tell her to leave but every time i’d finish a song, she would recoil to the back of the stage like a black widow to her lair. I’d be relived that I was spared the awkwardness of having to pantomime to an Italian woman to get off the stage. Yet, out she would come every time the music kicked up. Finally, after her 3rd consecutive song of sharing the stage with this woman I’d had enough. I ended the song and began to walk over to tell her to please sit in the audience but before I could get to her she smiled and motioned for me to wave at the camera. The woman must be a Jedi because suddenly I realized that I was center stage, turned away from my audience, and I was waving at her camera. Again, I wanted to say to the audience, “… she’s not with me” but she then got off the stage and I was relieved that now I could really perform without an obstacle course.