I went in completely blind. Not that I had intended to. It wasn’t like no one told me what it was all about. It was just, my mind had filled with so many other thoughts, and so much information. That and when my dear friend would speak of his productions, I often became lost….I hung on some pivotal phrase and pondered it for too long, without realizing I had tuned out the rest of the information.
He spoke of his theatrical work often. It was a regular occurrence. He had been with this particular theatrical group for a while now. It just so happened that this time he played the part of director instead of a member of the cast. So I obliged with my ignorant presence. So ignorant, in fact, that I found myself not even knowing the name and premise of this particular production.
I drove from my parents home in the country to the theater on the lakeshore. I came early. Only minutes before the rush. It was flurrying slightly. I walked in the darkness of the back ally to the theater doors. I bought my ticket at the box office. I bought myself a glass (served in a plastic solo cup) of wine as I watched the rush of faces pour in quite suddenly.
I drank my wine in the lobby alone.
I sat alone.
I was happy alone.
That was until I found myself sandwiched between two trios of lady friends. All charming and happy to be getting out of the house. None of them under the age of fifty. Though my singular seat felt crowded, I was pleasantly ignored. It was nearly perfect. Though, I found myself scanning the rows further behind me, to see what places were often in complete isolation. This was closing night. The back left (stage left) corner was completely empty. That would be my next choice when given the option. Next show I would sit completely alone.
I’m a sucker for isolation.
As moments passed body after body came pouring through the theater curtains. I had only beat the worst of the rush by a glass of wine. Stale smoke hung on their clothes and breaths as they entered. A combination of blue jean wearers and the evening formalwear adorned took their seats. A husband and wife sat in front of me. It was refreshingly strange to see a wife who had been dragged to the theater by her husband….and not the other way around. The group of women next to my left oohed and awed over a dish towel that one of them bought for the other two at a craft fair that same afternoon. A few gentlemen in fezzes sat strewn in the crowd…I suspected it had something to do with the show.
The lights went down. The music began. I was suddenly served my first taste of the show “Leading Ladies” which was a well done, beautifully sloppy story of two washed up actors who took up becoming cross dressing con men, who end up falling in love with the two women they planned on conning.
I love closing night. Because closing night is usually when the actors are exhausted and emotionally preparing for tear down before midnight. More mistakes are made, and by the third night they are painfully obvious. I love those mistakes. I love those embarrassed actors more for their desire to nail it only to fall slightly short after such good reviews. I love even more those actors who try to hide their heavy Wisconsin accents behind poorly executed British accents. I cheered louder for those who were smaller parts in the play when curtain call came.
Then silently and unnoticed, I left the theater.
When I entered the theater it was an ugly cold fall. When I left, it had become a beautiful romantic winter evening. Snow glittered on the ground and kissed my face and hair and I slowly left the theater. It was beautiful to be alone in thought after such a production. To think of the love story amidst the chaos of the con. For some reason it felt just like life. Aren’t we all trying to find a love story amidst the lies we live…the con we put up at work that we love our jobs, when we leave unfulfilled?
That night I fell in love. I had found my passion for going to the theater alone. For treating myself. Call me selfish, I don’t care. That night I found no need for anyone.