One Friday, I got an email from someone at my job saying they had extra tickets to a play for the movie Shakespeare in Love. I know I’ve seen parts of the movie Shakespeare in Love, but I don’t remember it well. I knew there was a woman actor dressing up like a boy and that’s who Shakespeare falls in love with, but all of the other details of the movie didn’t stand out. When I got an email about free tickets to a play of the movie for later that night, I thought I better grab them and start looking for a sitter.
After a short time, I realized that finding a sitter and a person to come with me would be harder than I thought. Other people I worked with probably got the same email, so no one from school would probably want to go, otherwise they would have gotten their own free tickets. No one else I know is really into Shakespeare like I am.
So I let my son nap a little later than usual, thinking that might help him stay up late for the show that would run from about 8pm to 11pm. He usually goes to sleep at 9. It could work.
We had to drive to my job first to get the tickets out of my mailbox. No problem. We still would have plenty of time to get there. My son asked for french fries, so I stopped at Popeyes to get him that too. That’s how good for time I thought we were. But, of course, they were doing some crazy construction on South Orange Ave right by the school so we were put on this bumper to bumper detour. I had to keep putting my car in park because the engine was heating up too much just sitting there with my foot on the break.
We finally got to Duke University. I asked two women holding hands where the theater was. We got put in balcony seats because the play had already started.
Everything went surprisingly well for a while. My son really sat on my lap and watched the play. Well, right away, a dog came out onstage, so that helped. Everyone was watching then. It was a running joke about wanting there to be a dog in Shakespeare’s plays too. After that, there was enough yelling and swords and running around for him to stay interested too. I felt like I had the best kid in the world. Who else would sit still during a play and not talk?
Then his pacifier fell. It was over. I reached around under us, and it wasn’t there. Damn. That meant that it fell one row down from us. I plopped him down in my seat and stepped down to the row in front of us to start feeling around for it. There were two empty seats and then a couple sitting next to each other. They both looked at me with a strange kind of look as I grabbed around a little too close to the guy’s foot. I tried to say I’m looking for a pacifier, but I could tell by their faces that they couldn’t understand what I was saying.
I gave up. I probably would have just left if it wasn’t for the fact that he wouldn’t forget about the pacifier the whole way home. Actually, that was the last one we had left, so we really couldn’t leave without it. I could tell we were nearing intermission. The people onstage were on a makeshift boat (using the same piece that was the bed in another moment in the play). That was the only scene I recognized from the movie.
I grabbed the kid and stepped out onto the balcony, staring at my own reflection in the windows in front of me. The last balcony scene I remembered from the play was the girl standing at her home balcony with Shakespeare reciting a poem for her, with the help of Malory. Then he tried climbing up the balcony and was face to face with her nurse. There I was.
After standing in the hallway waiting for intermission to end, a woman stopped us to say that my son is amazingly behaved. I just agreed. When we came back to our seats and I found the pacifier (under the man’s seat *eye roll*), another woman stepped over to us to compliment me for starting him young at the theater.
The play started back up. Within five minutes, my son started telling me that he wanted to go home. I didn’t want to disturb the performers anymore so I was like ok. We’re leaving. This is done.
We left the play while it was still a tragedy. Marlowe is dead. The show is shut down. The woman gets caught being a woman and is forced to leave the stage following the terrible guy she’s supposed to marry.
Next thing I knew, my heels were clicking down the dark pavement towards the car.