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Tearing down the theater

We've been getting ready to leave since the curtain fell, dusting off wigs and make-up jars, smoothing the crumpled scripts of last year's plays, packing up photographs of Mason and Redgrave. It's goodbye to the understudy and the star and the boy who counts the props, goodbye to the janitor's hello and the front-row seat that always collapsed in the middle of Act Three. Each of us guards the name of a cousin who once met Ionesco, or the telephone number of someone who moved to Holly- wood, or the address of the Italian producer who swore we were lovely. The doors are closing. Some of us linger, waiting to ask the demolition crew for directions to a theater that will last as long as we do.

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