is not a female egret
Recently, a reader emailed me with some comments and questions about the number of bike and scooter riders in the orchestra, which got me thinking about the post concert routine. At this time of year my thoughts often turn to the subject of departure anyway, but since a permanent exit is still something of a distant dream, I am forced to contemplate the small pleasures of my nightly exits from the concert hall.
It probably goes without saying that backstage the aftermath of each and every concert is not necessarily a scene of triumph, revelry, or even one of goodwill. At times the post-concert dissipation has the feel of a sandlot baseball game abruptly ended by broken glass. Suddenly a dozen boys head off in all directions, some running, others, hands in pockets, whistle as they toe the dirt and shuffle away with a studied “who, me?” sort of indifference.
A colleague of mine with the gift for finding the perfect way to put things once answered the question of why he declined to have his bio and photograph included in the ‘Meet the Musicians’ section of the program book by saying “Anyone who wants to meet me can wait in the alley [after the concert].” Indeed, the alley is the place to see the most interesting post-concert departures. Those who leave through the lobby tend to either melt into the crowd honorably, or else hold forth before a knot of admirers. The alley is where scooter and bike riders take off, on foot the mad-dashers make their break for freedom, and the habitual illegal parkers sheepishly (one can only hope) settle behind the wheels of un-ticketed cars.
Before the renovation of our hall, when there was not much of a backstage to speak of, one could pass from the stage to the alley in about ten paces. That has all been ‘improved’ with the latest reconstruction. Still, there is something appealing about the abrupt transition one experiences when exiting the concert hall, passing through the loading dock and out into the alley; to be one moment rubbing elbows with the cultural elite, the next, with dumpsters.