Leaving the theater by the stage door required crossing the wide New York State Theater stage. The “Camelot’ sets had been struck for the night and the house and stage were dark; dark except for the murky bulb in a cage on a stand downstage center — the thing known in the theater world as “the ghost light,” an aptly named light that somehow manages to make a vast, dark space seem darker and spookier than it would with no light at all.
What happened next was in the too-good-to-be-true category. Burton stopped near the light, his coat draped over one shoulder, gazed out at the empty house, tilted his head back and, with the famous, full chiming resonance, began, “O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend / The brightest heaven of invention . . . ” — and went right on through that ringing prologue to “Henry the Fifth” – via Who’s Afraid of Richard Burton?
When’s the last time you did something just for the sheer joy of it?