Break a Leg!

Literally. When I tried to stand up after a recent theatrical experience, I thought my legs might be atrophied forever.

Peter and I love going to the theatre and we especially enjoy all the opportunities to do so now that we live in the city. I wrote about our fondness for the Royal Alex Theatre in another post a while ago. We really enjoy the Mirvish subscription series and have seen many diverse and entertaining shows and actors that David and his father Ed have been able to stage for Toronto audiences.

On the other end of the theatrical spectrum, we enjoyed being in the audience to watch our granddaughter Agnes onstage this summer. She signed up for drama camp and invited us to the grand finale, “The Music Man.” There she was, dressed as Ethel in her long skirt , gloves, and broad-rimmed hat, looking very matronly for a seven-year-old. When she belted out “Seventy Six Trombones” as she pranced around the stage with the other young actors, we were delighted. We got her to sign the program for us, in cursive writing, as she pointed out.

Last weekend, when we realized that summer was drawing to a close, we decided to attend a show we hadn’t seen in years, not since we were much younger and more flexible. We packed our pillows and snacks and headed for a night of Shakespeare In the Park. It was a night of adventure, far more than we had anticipated. First of all we got off at the wrong subway stop and had to walk through a very long off-leash dog park. It was getting dark and we had to watch out for tree roots and well you know what else is lurking in a dog park… as we hurried along.

Eventually we saw the signs for the play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” But we were late and the outdoor amphitheatre was packed. We spotted a space between two young couples and signalled to them. They shifted a little bit to let us in. We balanced carefully so as not to land in their laps as we inched past. Then we looked down at the seating – it was not seating at all but rather a grassy ledge with a cement back. We plopped down, wondering: “Where do we put our legs?” What we had thought would be leg space was actually the back seat of the people in front of us. And the show was starting.

We carefully tucked our legs underneath us while arranging our pillows against the cement back. Hmmm…how long was this show anyway? Neither of us had thought to find out. We focused on the stage as the narrator arrived, wearing very short shorts, speaking the modern vernacular, and waving her cell phone around. We were drawn in as other characters took the stage and gently led us from 2019 back into the Shakespearean story. The plot followed the original, although abridged and edited, with modern costumes and props. It was clever and we were enjoying ourselves.

But gradually we began to squirm.In an effort at disctraction, we opened our beer and snacks. The plot thickened. Sub-plots emerged. The wedding scene, with elaborate costumes and dancing, was visually beautiful. The comic relief was hilarious. But our legs were talking to us: “When is intermission so we can stretch?”

With no break in sight, we tried turning sideways, but then other body parts complained. We slouched down but then our knees popped up and we couldn’t see the stage. We tried stretching out but then we nudged the people in front. Despite all our discomfort, we were enjoying the show. After a while the actors made their final bow and we clapped and cheered in response.

Then we tried to stand up. We bent our knees one last time and pushed back against the cement wall. Slowly, slowly, our legs straightened and we were UP. Yea! We gathered our empty beer cans, turned around, and realized that our seats were now steps. We helped each other climb up to the top. Finally we reached the exit, far behind the rest of the audience whom we noticed were mostly younger. By this time it was very dark and the path was gravelly. More challenges awaited us as we made our way towards the subway in the dark on our still-wobbly legs.

After we arrived home, we analyzed the evening. All in all a success. But next time we’ll take a flashlight and more pillows. And definitely more beer.


4 thoughts on “Break a Leg!

  1. Glad that you enjoyed the performance of you grand daughter! Sounds like a fun evening in the park. Admire you both for your adventures around town.


  2. Wow Peter and Susan…here less than a year and doing more things than John and I here 12 years…good for you! Love Ruth


  3. I love your weekly blogs, dry sense of humour and I look forward to reading about your unique adventures every Tuesday.
    Thanks Sue.


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