I remember one time when a friend and I were asked to perform at an inauguration ceremony. I was so proud of myself for having asked for all the details – stage dimensions, availability of a sound system, green rooms, mirrors … There was a time when I took all of that for granted. Experience taught me to ask questions without caring if the questions sounded stupid and pointless.
I had all the details well in time to start choreographing. Covering stage space is an important part of dance, so we worked things out accordingly.
We got there and saw all the arrangements that had been made. There was a long table covered with a white table-cloth on the stage. There were glasses of water on the table and chairs behind the table.
Again at the risk of sounding inane, I asked, “The table will be moved, right?”
“No, it’s nailed to the stage.”
I wondered if he was joking. But no, he was perfectly serious. “Then where do we dance?”
“You can dance in front, and I can move the chairs from behind” was the helpful suggestion.
“When I asked you the stage dimensions, why didn’t you tell me a huge table was nailed to the middle of the stage?”
There was no response beyond a shrug and a half-apology.
I had asked for the dimensions of the stage, not the dimensions of the usable section of the stage. I live and I learn.