OUTSIDE THE LINES 
By Ralph Carpio 

 

 

A while back I was having a deep conversation with a long-distance friend. We were discussing our common view about space/time. He was calling his view “thinking beyond the space/time continuum.” I was calling my version of this theme “beyond unnecessary boxes.” It was inspiring and thrilling to us both to consider the endless possibilities we can experience when holding these kinds of thoughts. 

Little did we know we would be living out our theory in practice. We had been planning a mutual vacation for some time and decided to meet in Stuart, Florida where my friend’s family lives. We enjoyed the warm, sunny weather as we continued our talk about space/time. The day before the trip, I had been surfing the Internet and discovered a website for a small community theatre in Stuart. 

I called my friend on the phone and announced that they were performing Mame. He voiced his enthusiasm to see the play and we agreed the theatre would be on our agenda. Upon arriving in Stuart, I double-checked with the theatre for times, cost etc. 

It was then I realized that the play wasn’t scheduled to begin its run until Friday, the last day of our trip! Needless to say, we were both quite disappointed. It seemed we would have to wait until a future date to enjoy a performance at this theatre. It was then we resumed our talk about the curiousness of space/time events. We had been steeped in the concept of thinking and living “outside the lines” for some time. 

We agreed that events were not bound by the traditional parameters of time and space. We then continued with other plans we had made for our mini vacation. On a previous occasion, we had come across an Italian restaurant in an area called Confusion Corner. We decided to return there for a meal. It was mid-week at this point. We enjoyed the meal but it was a bit heavy and we decided to walk it off. 

As we walked along, a sign high above caught my eye. I did a double take as I realized it was the marquee for the theatre. We walked to the box office and read the poster announcing Mame opening on Friday. The thought must have been simultaneous, because we both looked at each other with this odd look that said, “This is strange”. I hadn’t realized the theatre was so near the Italian restaurant and neither had my friend. 

We decided to finish our walk and then head back to the car. As we neared the end of the path in front of the theatre, we noticed a young man leaning against the stage entrance side door. He was smoking a cigarette and looking up at the stars. I nodded hello and my friend asked the man if there was a bathroom inside that he could use. The man informed us there was a bathroom but to please be quiet because the cast was in final dress rehearsal for Mame. 

I asked the friendly young man if he was in the cast. He responded that he was in charge of costuming. For some reason, still surprising to me, I asked if we could go in and watch the rehearsal. Without any hesitation, the man opened the door and escorted us inside the theatre. He sat us just a few rows back from the stage and excused himself. 

My friend and I sat there in a rather stunned state as the performers danced and sang the score to Mame. It was then I realized we were sitting just a few seats from the director. I had mentioned to my friend before that I had been in a community-acting group in my 20s and that it had been a very happy time for me. 

And here we were sitting inside a darkened theatre next to the director of the play we were supposed to have missed! It was fascinating to sit there and watch the lighting, blocking, set design and costuming happening all around us. We laughed and applauded as we enjoyed the rehearsal in our premium seats. 

Afterwards, we located the young man and thanked him. As we made our way back to the car, I was filled with a wonderful sense of awe. While we had been discussing the reality of living beyond the accepted conditions of space/time, the unexpected experience of it floored me. 

Getting to experience the play in this behind-the-scenes way and at no cost was truly special. After returning home and reflecting, I was again flooded with the marvel and simplicity of it all. 

We really had done nothing more than hold boundless possibilities in our minds. I am truly and deeply committed to holding this new reality of time/space, unnecessary boxes and thinking outside the lines. I am even more convinced that there are no lines. 

Ralph Carpio is the author of “The Constant Creator In You”, published by Rainbow Books. You may read more at his website www.constantcreator.homestead.com 


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