Yesterday I had it in mind for an evening of theatre.
I imagined rocking up in my fancy shoes (of the three pairs of shoes I have, one pair is fancy), my hair freshly washed and voluminous–to keep all my secrets and spare change—and politely inquire after one ticket please, adult–obviously.
I imagined swirling a glass of red wine at intermission, sipping gently, letting the dryness roll over my tongue. Swallow, feel my toes lift just a hair.
I imagined myself amidst a sea of theatre-goers; stunning women wearing long dresses and high heels, groomed men with sparkling smiles. A host of intellectuals, individuals who chuckle at things like subtle English puns.
Armed with a select amount of Kiwi dollars in my pocket and the evening off, I scanned through the listings of evening theatre performances.
“Catch Me If You Can?!” I exclaimed, scaring the pigeons in the Glen Eden library courtyard.
The last time I had watched Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks chase each other around the world, I was curled up in Terminal 3 of the Malaysian airport, munching on a chocolate cookie, waiting to fly back to Jakarta to renew my visa. It was an excellent aesthetic; high adventure, youthful improbability, taunting authorities . . . all things that make my cup runneth over.
I checked the ticket price: the cost of four avocados! A steal!
I assumed “Avondale College Theatre” was perhaps a community college, which might play host to some spectacular performers. Growing up in a Uni town, I was quite used to the various plays and performances put on around Manhattan.
Plus it was only a half-hour bike ride from our house out west. Rare to find something so convenient.
I knew it wasn’t going to be the exact aesthetic I had imagined; not being the Civic Theatre, or the Basement Theatre, or an Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra concert, and all. So probably no long dresses. And being a more contemporary piece of theatre, I would not get to appreciate the “intellectuals” in their full glamour.
Nevertheless, it would be an evening of the-a-tre, high adventure, youthful improbability, and taunting authorities. How grand!
I pulled on my black pants and fancy shoes, gave my fluffy hair a shake, and peeled out along the motorway, the dusk wind soaring alongside my fancy spirits.
Avondale College Theatre was not the aesthetic I was imagining. By any means.
For a start, it was a cruel reminder that college, in New Zealand, is high school, in the States. That one had slipped my mind completely.
I had rocked on up to a high school production.
Secondly, being a high school performance, there was no wine. There would be no aesthetic toe lift.
Lastly, the production was a musical.
I’ve nothing against musicals. But you must see: it changes the atmosphere indelibly, from that of, say, Hamlet or The Crucible.
It was most amusing to find myself in this position.
The ushers, in groups of four or five, led me to my seat in the tiered section. After a few mishaps, a seat change or two, I snugged in. I was quite early, as is my custom with the the-a-tre, so I was able to observe the other college (high school) students mingle around.
In the row in front sat a couple, 16 or 17 tops. The boy was attempting to beat the world record for number of ponytail-pulls on a girl in a theatre setting. The girl, who was angry, was happy.
A line of identical sextuplets filled in behind me, and to ensure I wouldn’t slip into inattentiveness, they began thudding Nikes into the back of my seat.
Seeing so many high school students, and being back in a high school again, I began to think of my high school best friends—Claire, Stand Partner, Sammi, Lane, Summer, Emily—and picked them out in the crowd. I thought of my favorite teachers–Mr. Ficke, Mr. Thies, Mrs. Payne–and found them seated around me.
I saw Coach Melgares sitting with her husband stage left, third row.
My guidance counselor, Mr. Wickmann, seated four rows up from me.
Mr. Easterday, my orchestra conductor, was at the helm of a squeaky 30-man pit orchestra. I saw Stand Partner tuning his violin in the third chair.
Not a lot of sparkling smiles, however, and some serious sub-par grooming.
I was most amused.
The Avondale College rendition of Catch Me If You Can was what one expects of a college (high school) rendition of Catch Me If You Can.
The audience behaved as expected, as well. When the “sexy stewardess” (wearing red lipstick, to signify) kissed Frank on the cheek (and the microphone backfired from the sexual tension), the crowd around me erupted into oooooohs and I thought: man, that Aimee chick is going to hear. it. tomorrow.
The lead, Joshua, played a brilliant Frank Abagnale Jr. He curled his face into the “stanky face” (made popular by the New Orleans jazz musicians mid improv-solo) to hit the high notes. Which he did well. With all my the-a-tre expertise, I could say he could make a career out of using his stanky face to hit those puppies.
Don’t take that last sentence out of context, please.
It was an evening of theatre: of high note adventure, of youthful mobility, of running-in-place from authority. Avocados well spent.
Peace and blessings,