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The Extra At a certain point in life one ceases to be oneself, and from that moment forward one chooses one's own personality, which is necessarily someone else's. This is not a moment to be sanguine about onešs past. It is, rather, a moment when one must focus all onešs energies on the question at hand, and make the right decision. In my new role as extra, I have no role at all, but only a presence. My character may be someone else's, but without a character of my own there is no way to distinguish between them. The lie of my being may therefore be avoided: truth is possible, in the absence of substance. The extra was seen in the background, maybe acting badly. But in the foreground was the deception, the big lie. The background is only a set piece, a hint of time and place. Flats lifted away and stored after the performance. Scrims hoisted dramatically into the flies... When Hart Crane jumped into the painting of the sea, he did indeed drown. Extras jump and jump and jump, and never fall more than a few feet, into bales of hay. The hay is scratchy, and its smell is of the barnyard. Extras are rolling in it.