It’s interesting how something I’d never heard of ten months ago could so quickly come to define my sense of identity. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 40th Festival Season officially ended for me on July 3rd, the “end date” on my contract, as I supervised the movers packing up the stuff and carting it off to the warehouse where it will slumber until next May. Green and white striped tablecloths, glass hurricane lampshades, white plastic chairs (many slightly squirrel-gnawed) and their companion wood-topped folding tables, trash cans, the bar (very important item, that) and most of the other items that go into making the festive appearance outside the theatre- all items that I was newly acquainted with on May 9th as I supervised their move from the warehouse to the theatre grounds. In the weeks since my introduction these items have become familiar to me. They have stories, have been woven into my own history and I, so a small degree, into theirs.
The red geraniums that are as long-standing a symbol of OTSL’s Festival Season as the green and white striped tents and the candle-lit tables on the lawn, have also mostly disappeared though a few remain planted in the flower beds on the Webster University campus. In a few weeks, it will be as though none of any of it ever happened. But next year, like clockwork, the tents will reappear, as will the tables and chairs, the hurricanes and the red geraniums, and the gypsy camp will spring up once again, drawing luminaries and common folk from far and wide for another season of music and community. It all appears like magic to the uninitiated but, in the past few weeks, I have had my former beliefs confirmed. Magic only looks like “magic” from the outside, to the uninitiated. From the inside of the spell, things are much more ordinary.
(© Karen Opp. All rights reserved.)