I went to a yoga class this evening, and not just because they have the word “monkey” in their name. At the end, the lights were put out while we were in corpse pose. And I got to thinking about the various darknesses that I enjoy – I generally like darkness – and the sounds and noises that go with them. I mean when I’m alone.
There’s the darkness in my room while I’m falling asleep. The sounds I hear depend greatly, of course, on where I happen to be sleeping. Each place has its own signature. At my parent’s home, when I was growing up, there were the insects chirping, lizards making their tch-tch sounds, my father watching TV (that’s how I will always remember the Archie Bunker, and the M*A*S*H theme songs). There are the darknesses in various hotel rooms, with their odd odors, which always throw me off balance. There was the darkness in one of the rooms of a seaside retreat maintained by a church in my hometown: I went there with 20 or so other students for a retreat. I don’t remember being able to hear the waves, but I remember being afraid of the dark there. (There have been various periods of time when my highly active imagination made me fear the dark.)
There is the darkness in the movie theater, before the movie begins but after the houselights have gone down. The soundtrack to the advertisements and the trailers are on. But, what I especially like are the pops of the soundtrack in the spaces between ads or trailers. Then there are the various rustlings of snack packages. I started going to movies alone when I was a teenager, and I got to like the lights going down on me.
In the audience of a play or a musical, the darkness is not as alluring. Almost all shows I’ve seen have been well enough attended that there wasn’t much space between me and the other people.
When I started performing, I loved the darkness backstage. The hushed tones of the performers, the voices and the music and the action happening on stage filtering through the heavy curtains. The reaction of the audience. The anticipation of a cue, whispered conversations and jokes with the other cast and crew.
In acting class, I loved the darkness sitting in the house, watching my classmates perform on stage. The theater at Washtenaw Community College was small, but very cosy. The darkness there was lovely, made so especially by the caring, nurturing atmosphere created by our instructor.
The darkness at yoga class felt like I was falling asleep in a new place. The traffic sounds filtered through. I was aware of the other students in class. It was a good darkness.