Hang There Like Fruit, My Soul, ‘Til The Customer Request Dies

, , , | Right | November 20, 2019

(I am in an outdoor production of “Cymbeline,” widely considered Shakespeare’s least-performed play, and one that few people have even heard about. The show begins at 7:00 pm and usually ends at 10:30 pm. On the night of the last performance, my director receives the following call.)

Director: “Hello?”

Caller: “Is this where I can ask questions about Cymbeline?”

Director: “Yes. Did you want to make a reservation for tonight?”

Caller: “Well, I can’t. Not if the show starts at seven. You must start it an hour earlier.”

Director: “You want me to start the show at six instead of seven? Tonight?”

Caller: “Yes!”

Director: “Are you aware that it is 6:30 pm now?”

Caller: “You must start the show at six! No restaurant that is worth eating at in this town will accept reservations after 9:30!”

Director: “Ma’am, I just can’t do that.”

Caller: “But you have to! Cymbeline is my favorite play, and I’ve always wanted to see it performed!”

Director: “I understand you are upset, but we can’t start the show early.”

Caller: “But I’ve been in so many Shakespeare plays! I’ve been in Hamlet!”

Director: “That’s very nice, but everyone who wants to see the show will be here at seven, and we can’t start early just for one person.”

Caller: “But Cymbeline is my favorite! How am I supposed to eat after the show?”

Director: *frustrated* “Thank you for your comments. We here at [Theatre] appreciate your feedback and will consider it for future shows.” *hangs up* “I really hope she doesn’t come tonight.”

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Ballet Commentary We Can All Get Behind

, , , , , , | Related | November 10, 2019

This story happens when I’m quite small, about three or four years old. My parents have taken me to a children’s matinee at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. They were worried that I’d be bored, but apparently, I’m utterly enthralled.

At one point, a male and female dancer begin to perform a romantic pas-de-deux, and a small voice pipes up from the middle of the crowd, “Oh! The pretty lady loves the man!”

We’re sitting far enough back that the dancers don’t hear this, but a ripple of laughter moves through the audience nearby. An usher hurries over and asks my father to take me to sit at the back, and he complies.

Another scene is circus-themed and features a clown putting on his clown suit. Midway through, the same small voice rings out again. “He’s putting on his jammies!”

More laughter from the audience. This time the usher asks my dad to remove me from the audience entirely. 

As my dad says, this was clearly the beginning of my career in media analysis.

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Something Has Changed Within Me

, , , , , | Related | October 26, 2019

(I’m very geeky. My mother and I go to a professional production of one of my favorite musicals. I’m so excited that I almost don’t notice when I lean forward in my seat, mouth the lyrics to most of the songs, and am unable to stop smiling. When the lights come on for intermission, I turn to my mother and see her silently laughing.)

Me: “Are you liking it so far?”

Mom: “I don’t know what’s more entertaining, watching the musical or watching you!”

(Apparently, my theater geek side is more obvious than I thought.)

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The Tale Has Gone Down Into Legend

, , , , , | Right | October 24, 2019

(My family is attending a live outdoor performance where actors play roles from Arthurian myth in a silly way. One character makes a mildly bawdy joke.) 

Younger Brother: *nice and loud; the kid has NO filter* “Daddy, what does that mean?”

Dad: *also loud: it comes naturally* “I’ll tell you later, son.” 

(A few people chuckle, the show goes on, and we think that’s it. Next year we are back, same show, same cast.) 

King Arthur: “Sir Lancelot! Guard Queen Guinevere as though she were your own love!” 

(The audience has a good laugh at this.) 

King Arthur: “Wait, what is happening? Why are you all laughing? Merlin! What does this mean?” 

Merlin: “I shall tell thee later, sire.” 

(My family missed the next few lines because we were laughing too hard. No idea if it was just a coincidence or if they actually remembered us, but it definitely made our day!)

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It Wasn’t An Act

, , | Right | August 16, 2019

(I work in the box office of a theater. It’s about five minutes before curtain and one of the actors comes racing up to the box office in costume: nice pants, a white shirt, and an elegant vest.)

Actor: “Hi! Uh, real quick here. My wife just left our infant son with [Intern] and is on her way here.”

(A group of patrons enters behind him making a lot of noise and I mishear what he said.)

Me: “Left him alone?!

Actor: *chuckling* “No! No, with [Intern].”

Me: *laughing* “Oh! Sorry. I’m caught up now.”

(The group of patrons begins to move around him, all but shoving him away from the window.)

Customer #1: “We need our tickets?”

Me: “Sure, just a moment please.”

(I look at the actor but he’s sort of shuffled to the side to make room for them.)

Customer #2: *stepping rudely around the actor* “Yeah, we need to pick up tickets for this show.”

Me: *thinking it’ll be quicker to just hand over the tickets* “What name are they under?”

(Everyone in the groups starts giving me different names. It’s six tickets under four different names. The actor winces, realizing this will take more time than he has. He steps forward again.)

Actor: “Sorry, but I have to be on stage in five minutes.”

([Customer #2] steps back in surprise.)

Me: *relieved* “Right. So, she’s on her way?”

Actor: “She is, but she may still be a few minutes late.”

Me: “I’ll let the house manager know.”

Actor: “Thank you!” *dashes off*

Customer #1: *sniffs and mumbles* “I thought he was just some volunteer.”

Me: *smiling* “So, what names were those under?”

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