Thursday, September 04, 2008

Drama at the theatre

Three months ago, Matt gave me 5 gifts to celebrate our 5th anniversary. Last night, we finally used the last of the gifts, which were tickets to see Les Miserables at Wolf Trap. Wolf Trap is actually distinct for two reasons: 1) its actually a giant outdoor covered theatre, and 2) its also a National Park. You can buy tickets for the lawn, or in the covered section. Matt had gotten us seats in the covered section.

Les Mis has sentimental signifcance for us. It was one of our first dates, back in 1996, and I remember holding hands as we looked in wonder at the revolving stage, and being thrilled with the giant red flag that the students wave at the end of Act 1.

Last night, a group of four elderly people (two couples) came in and sat down next to us. I was kind of annoyed, but only because, really, nobody likes it when people sit next to them. About 20 minutes into the show, as Fontine is giving in to becoming a prostitute, I feel the man next to me start to rub my knee. As I turn toward him, I realize he's actually trying to get up, and he hurriedly rushes past us, up the aisle, to alert the usher that his wife is having a medical emergency.

I glance at his wife, and see that she is slumped over in her seat, with her eyes closed and her mouth slightly agape. Her friend is holding her hand, and rubbing her arm. The usher comes over and asks us, quite politely, to move. We comply, and we watch as EMS techs rush down the aisle, pull the woman out of her seat, and try to revive her. All the while, Fontine is dying on stage, pleading with Jean Valjean to help her child, Cossette.

After about 20 minutes, they brought her around, and she was alert as the stretcher carried her past us. The performers on the stage were none the wiser, but the audience around us still looked slightly stunned as the real life drama around us finished.

I can't imagine what the poor man went through. What was supposed to be a nice night out for them probably turned into a moment of terror. I really thought the woman was going to die. Luckily, it appeared that she was okay when they left.

I don't know what caused that woman to lose consciousness. But I do know that Matt and I squeezed each other's hands a little bit tighter that night.