Melisa Pereyra: Ghosts of Audiences Past

Posted August 1, 2019 By Melisa Pereyra

Asu Melisa

At APT's 40th Anniversary Party, Core Acting Company member Melisa Pereyra shared her Macbeth pre-show ritual with our audience. It was a beautiful tribute to APT audiences.  

I didn’t pick a speech
I wanted to share a bit of a secret with you instead…
Every play I do comes with its own ritual. 
For Mackers, before every performance, 
I walk down every row of seats and go over the play in my head. 
My gaze kept being drawn to the inscriptions on the back of the seats.
As I read them, I realized my ritual shouldn’t include the lines I already knew, 
but the ones patrons chose to leave with us over the past 40 years. 
Thus began my nightly conversation with the ghosts of audiences past…
I wanted you to meet them too…
Some are still here and I know them, 
Some I will never get to meet. 
But in these seats, they too, left a story.


That’s one of the first seats I meet when I start my walk.

“For the magic” whispers another. 

I usually stop at this seat for a moment.
I am filled with..

“A love that makes breath poor and speech unable”
“Eternal is our love"
exclaims the next seat.
Near them sit

Lady Disdain and Monsieur Love

I keep walking. Breathing. 
The unseen voices in these seats remind me…

The play’s the thing
Know truth and live it
My heart, my home
For the love of the story
This above all: To thine own self be true.
All the world’s a stage, so enjoy the show!
Enjoy the performance
Every exit is an entry somewhere else
In summer, the song sings itself.
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date
Each of us is a theatre for another person
Feel the words. Believe the moment.
Speak the speech, I pray you.
Patch grief with proverbs
They say every why hath a wherefore
ART must take reality by surprise
What matters? Children and Art.

Come, give us a taste of your quality!
The voices taunt me….
Let all the number of the stars give light to thy fair way
This above all to thine own self be true
Better nobly remembered, than nobly born.
The play’s the thing, play on!
The readiness is all
The seats counsel.

We are the time’s subject, and time bids be gone…

In memory of 
In memory of 
In memory of
There with fantastic garlands did she come…
May you be enjoying the Garden of your dreams
In honor of my parents
For our fathers
In honor of the fairies in these woods
APT’s Graduate Apprentices
In honor of the Acting Company
In honor of our daughters
Let’s go hand in hand. Not one before another

In memory of 
In memory of 
In memory of
Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear
Remembering our mother now seated with the stars

You want stars? I got a sky full 
A happy seat exclaims. Others chime in…
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”
“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

They share so much love with me in our conversation…
“APT…our special place to play in the woods”
The gossip of the bunch tells me…
“the best bunburying happens in the woods”
They tell me they are in the woods for different reasons…
Into the woods to escape
A special place where we laugh, love, lament, and applaud.
To refresh the dry places in our spirit
The moon, the bats, the whippoorwills
I can no other answer make but thanks
If music be the food of love play on.
Can one desire too much of a good thing?
One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.
The theatre is the house of life

In memory of
In memory of 
In memory of
Here will we sit. 
Masters, spread yourselves.
With, hey, ho the wind and the rain.
Under the sun or stars a tale unfolds, of wit or woe to be.
As you like it.
With Panache.
Most wonderful.

Play on…
The seats tell me
Perchance to dream

My ritual is almost over. 
I stay silent. 
The loneliest seat on the left side of the house quietly asks…

What should such fellows as I do? 

Another replies…
Gather out of star-dust, Earth-dust, Cloud-dust, Storm-dust, And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust
Not for sale.

To thine own self be true.

Break a leg, Take a bow.
And in good humor my favorite seat reminds me
“It could be raining.”