The pre-show monologue

The pre-show monologue

Jenna Simeonov
We write plenty about the shows we see, but sometimes the best little anecdotes happen before the downbeat. In monologue format, we want to give you an exemplary taste of the pre-opera adventures we have, en route to the main event.

Thanks, Google Maps! Would never have found the theatre without you. Ok, which door? This one…nope, fake door. Ok, how about this…ah, it’s a pull, not a push. Pardon me, elderly couple on my heels, the door opens outwards! Your enthusiasm is admirable, though. Those are still my heels, by the way. Alright, box office, box office…why doesn’t the box office look like a box or an office? Hello, Mr. Box Office! Yes, I am aware that this line is for press only. It’s fortunate that I am press! The ticket should be under Douglas?…I SAID, DOUGLAS…YES, JENNA…WITH A J LIKE JOHN OR JEHOVAH…OKAY, THANK YOU!

Alright, shove the tickets and press info and the surprisingly thick programme into your purse. Trying to get out of the way, sorry, pushy opera-goers. Oops, I guess left was not a good choice, as I seem to be swimming upstream. Right? Right. Wait, this is the line for the coat check. Let’s try heading north. Alright, north seems to be working.

Sure, Mr. Security Guard, you can shine a flashlight into my bag full of literature and umbrellas and little bits of gum wrappers. I do hope you’ve seen worse purse contents than mine. Hello, Madame Usher! Thank you for the directions, too; I don’t know which left you mean, nor where door X is, but I’m sure the theatre has excellent signage.

Signage? Bueller? Ah, there’s some signage, all itty bitty and at shoulder height. Please, well-dressed couple, please keep moving so that I can see if this is door X. Nope, it’s door Y. That should mean X is…aha! Found it.

But I have to pee. Do I have time to pee? Theoretically, yes. Restrooms are back that way, I think, over where I went to the right. Ah, the restroom line has grown. How gauche would it be for me to just use the men’s room? I mean, a toilet is a toilet, right? Gender equality and all that? No, don’t be that girl. Dum dee dum…

Yes yes, ding dong, the show is starting in…three…minutes. Check your purse; success! You didn’t drop your ticket or your phone in the restroom. Onwards! Signage says this way to door X! Aha. Stairs. Stairs, and a four-strong horizontal line of elderly opera-goers in front of me. It’s alright, I’ll scoot around on the inside track of this upcoming turn in the hallway. Whew. I can’t wait until I too am old enough to take up all the available travel room in a crowded space. What a day that will be.

*Alright, we’ve crossed the threshold from lobby into the theatre. Lovely space! Quick, grab yourself a spot on that handrail. A steep incline, this one. Row Q, P, O, N…M! I am M. Ooh, delightful. An aisle seat. Crossed legs, here we come. Fear not, fellow row-M folks! You can all stay seated. I have an aisle seat.*

*Ok, shrug off the coat, and find your phone. Do-not-disturb setting, don’t fail me now. 1 minute left! Time for an anticipatory show-related Tweet. Sir to my left, I see you eyeing my phone and drawing conclusions related to my lack of grey hair; don’t you worry, though, I will not live up to your stereotype of mid-show texters. Tweet sent! Double check volume is off, and let’s add airplane mode for good measure. See, sir to my left, phone is going into the purse. Stealthily trade phone for pen and notebook…all set. Yes, sir to my left, I am going to write a review of this show. Who do I write for? Only the fabbest online opera publication around. That’s alright, I’m not offended that you’ve never heard of it. No, I’m not American.*

I knew it. I knew I should have done all the above while standing, rather than getting comfortable; I should have noticed that row M wasn’t yet entirely full. Oh, look! It’s the four-strong horizontal line of folks from the stairs. They’ve made it to their seats in the nick of time. Yes, I’m working on standing up to let you all by. Please don’t kick my purse, ma’am, I’m picking it up as we speak. Alright then. You must be in a rush. Not a problem at all. Enjoy your middle-of-the-row seats.

Ok. Settle back into the seat, arrange coat on seat-back, re-stash purse, notebook and pen at the ready, legs comfortably in the crossed position. Looks like it’ll be left leg over right this time, as sir to my left is taking the spread-eagle pose for the time being.

Oooh. The lights are dimming and I’m excited. Wow. Quite dark indeed. My notes will no doubt be laughable chicken scrawl by the time this lets out. Ah well. I freaking love the opera.

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