What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Personal Proposal March 9, 2019

At the theatre company I work for most often, we do a thing called a Curtain Speech. Basically, before the show starts, a couple of actors go out on stage, read a list of birthdays and anniversaries, talk about upcoming shows, and warn people against the evils of taking pictures during the show.

I’ve done a lot of curtain speeches, mostly because they don’t scare me and I don’t really mind doing the work. But there is one curtain speech that will forever live in infamy.

I was sitting backstage at my dressing room station when, of all people, the lighting guy came backstage to tell me there was a very special curtain speech announcement. He handed me a paper and told me to read it after the anniversaries.

I looked at the paper, thinking it was going to be like a retirement celebration or something, but the card said (something along the lines of):

“And Charlotte, Richard wants to know if you’ll marry him.”


If it had come from anyone but the lighting guy, I would have thought it was a prank, but no no, this was a serious thing that some dude had decided was the best way to propose.

The top of the show came around, and it was time for the curtain speech. We finished the anniversaries and it was my (and Richard and Charlotte’s) big moment.

So I said, “And Charlotte, Richard wants to know will you marry him?”

And way, way in the back of the theatre, I saw a guy get out of his seat to kneel. But he was all the way in the back, so I really couldn’t see what was happening.

He definitely didn’t have any sort of a grand plan for a speech, because he was back in his seat like two seconds later. Everyone else in the audience stared to the back of the audience, then they start shouting up to me asking what she’d said. But I didn’t know, I could barely see them.

So I just shrugged and said, “Well, they both look happy, so congratulations!”

And then we went into talking about the next show in the season.

I hope Richard and Charlotte are happy. I hope that, for some reason, having a stranger propose to her in front of a room of strangers was actually Charlotte’s dream.

I never thought I would propose to someone, but I guess that’s been checked off my bucket list.


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