Tableaux Vivants

Georges Seurat. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-5. 81x121 inches. Chicago Institute of Art.

The posing director corrects the spread of my skirt, the angle of the smallest girl's head, the lounging man's pipe. She hooks the leash sewn onto my glove to the monkey painted on the set. The curtain is raised, the lights go up, and I hear the audience suck in their breaths. A charge passes between us like an electric current, and I know they are stunned, admiring, and I feel beautiful. I feel like art. I feel like a masterpiece. This is real. This is wonderful. I am transformed.