The death of stage performing isn’t just the loss of a professionit is the loss of an entire form of experience. Nothing else has the feeling of standing on that precipice between failure and success the puddle of sweat at the small of the back, the fluttering heartbeat, the tingling knees; to experience that moment when everything just might fall apart and probably should and you know it will, but then it doesn’t. The magic enchants, the joke is funny, the song is transcendent. Nothing else feels like that embarrassing, thrilling freefall into disaster, the old roar of the greasepaint and smell of the crowd, a tragedy or comedy that could happen anywhere, at any moment, for anyone, because all a play really needs is a player.
(Photo: Bobbo the clown takes the applause in the ring at Bobby Roberts Circus on Knutsford Common on March 30, 2011 in Knutsford, England. Bobby Roberts Circus has had to erect a security fence around it's giant tent for the first time in it's history in the wake of a video showing Anne one of its retired elephants being abused. By Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)