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Stoop, and Wash: A Stage's Perspective of Julius Caesar

I’ve been watching. They think the worst is over, that there is nothing more that can happen. They have never been more wrong. They think I don’t know their every thought, don’t see their every move or hear their every word. This too, is incorrect. I will show them my power. There is one Caesar and it is I. Veniam, videbo, vincam.

I waited patiently for weeks while they finished making me pretty for the cast. I needed to be ready for when they arrived; I wanted to look my best. I was excited, to say the least. The place of honor was mine this year: first show of the season, first impressions. Everything rested on me, and I was not going to disappoint.

It didn’t take long for me to realize not everyone appreciated me. I heard whispers and loud conversations about why I was problematic, why I should change—but you don’t just tell someone to change their very being! First there was a problem with my levels. They were different than what had been communicated. Then the escape stairs upstage didn’t look the way people expected. Then I heard countless complaints about my supposedly atrocious sight lines (I’ll admit I questioned them myself, but had decided to make the most of the situation. I preferred to think of them as an opportunity to show off my beauty and the theater’s). A cheap shot attacked my surface material and sealant. Criticism after criticism bombarded me until I could stand it no longer. All I wanted was to support these people. All I wanted to do was make them look good. If they insisted on making an enemy of me, fine.

Patience, I was told, is the key. Patience. I knew I would need to assert my authority early on; however, it was crucial I waited until the right moment. This moment came sooner than I expected. It involved the contested gutter sliced into me. This gutter allowed my tripartite walls to track across stage. One day I overheard stage management discussing the need to perform a safety test run with Caesar’s gurney over the gutter, and knew my moment had arrived. The two-legs chose their sacrificial lamb, leaving two to push while one lay on the hospital gurney. They pushed. I resisted. The wheels stuck and half the gurney collapsed. Amazingly enough, the desired effect was more than I could have ever hoped; the human’s head crashed to the floor with the gurney, bouncing slightly before lying still. Like a well-oiled machine the rest of stage management and production swarmed to the scene, springing into action and offering assistance. Enough damage had been done with one blow that I didn’t really need to do any more, but like people say, that kind of power is addicting. I acquired a taste for it.

That one didn’t return the next day. Or the next. Or the next. Instead, someone I gleaned was another intern joined stage management for tech. After her there was another person. Then yet another. Unfortunately, it was difficult to find another moment to strike. Spacing was going fairly well and it’s not like I could send a ripple across the floor—too obvious. Blood was my opportunity—and there was going to be a lot of it.

I embraced the 24 blood packs’ worth of blood my surface was exposed to each night, endured the rounds of mopping that used apple cider vinegar and water, along with the multiple attempts at drying the water, and bided my time. I absorbed what blood I could and used my sealant to camouflage blood spots so I could reveal them later, after the deck crew thought they had found all of them. I used the intermission cleaning to my advantage to interrupt quiet moments of the play with loud squelching. It was impossible to remove all traces of the blood and the vinegar. I allowed small amounts of blood to seep back into my screw holes, thus defiling the costumes and frustrating the very people I was serving. As more shows happened it became too easy. I delighted in creating tiny reservoirs of blood in my cracks and screw holes that gave way to small rivers at the slightest pressure. I know I don’t have long left, but I will relish every moment I have. Unsuspecting passersby don’t realize they smear their hands or clothing on spots I meticulously placed. Until the carpenters dismantle me at the end of the show’s run, I will bleed for what everyone said. I will show them what happens when they don’t respect me. I will be a curse to them. Even when they strike me, my work will not be done, for I have assured the final word in this story. There will be blood below my deck.

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