Friday, April 6, 2012

Curiouser and curiouser

With all things ballet enveloping what was once my easy-to-please daughter, I decided to take her to the real thing. She was fast becoming a true balletomane. We had ventured to the movies twice by this stage in her career and she mostly managed the two hours of darkened quiet confinement. So... I thought I would tempt fate that little bit more and book tickets for the family to see the Queensland Ballet’s performance of Alice in Wonderland.

What could have proven to be an expensive gamble certainly paid off.  We had many conversations prior to the big day about theatre etiquette and what to expect. Ita would have been proud, as clearly some of it stuck. She was not backward in pointing out other children’s indiscretions – usually with just enough tone and volume as to ensure they were not mistaken about her admonishments.

There are so many things to consider prior to embarking on such an excursion with a toddler…just to name a few…
  1. Timing – matinee or evening? I considered the health and welfare of all other audience members and went with the matinee option. Witching hour and theatre experiences should be mutually exclusive.
  2. Seats – prior experience taught me that darkened theatres seem to have an effect not unlike laxatives. Similar to all confined spaces that requires one to have allocated seating – go the aisle.
  3. Pack-a-snack – may be construed as bribery and what’s so wrong with that I ask? Just don’t be like those annoying people at the cinemas who spend half an hour trying to undo a cellophane packet that clearly requires something more along the lines of a set of hedge trimmers or flamethrower.
  4. Booster cushions – while theatre seats are built with adult height in mind, short people get a terrific view of the seat in front. We learnt from this cultural foray to get in early with the complimentary boosters.  Apparently they go like hot cakes, regardless of one’s stature. While our height-challenged one missed out, it was comforting to see so many giraffe-like people getting a bird’s eye view… of the gantry. I was sorely tempted to echo Lewis Carroll’s very words ‘Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.’ Fortunately two of those said giraffes behind us knew the rules and took pity, handing over two cushions, affording our charge a great view of the actual stage.

Whilst all this pre-planning definitely paid off – I really need not have worried.  For two hours, our short one was transfixed. It was difficult to tear one’s eyes away from her face and watch the action on stage, the performance that we actually paid for! The sheer delight, enjoyment and involvement in the performance were quite incredible. She was clearly transported into the Wonderland on stage, so much so that when it finished she literally cried for more. Evidently my pre-planning had failed at this point in time. I hadn't considered the need to explain that live performances generally can not be rewound and played again.

As we turned from our seats, the giraffe behind craned her neck forward and said, ‘Your little one was so very good throughout that performance.  She obviously loved it.’

Hypnotic trances are like that. Complete envelopment in all that transpires. Moving beyond the literal, Lewis Carroll's words echoed true once again...trance is really fast paced. You are constantly dancing and jumping around. Our little Alice did not miss a pas de deux, a plie, a pirouette...she lived and breathed every last step.

A true balletomane indeed!

1 comment:

  1. How lovely, wish I'd been there too! When I was about 9 or 10 my big sister took me on the bus (at night and in the rain) to the pictures to see "Swan Lake". It was a movie with the original Russian Ballet cast I think. In any case, wet and cold and in a near empty theatre, I sat transfixed. I can still remember it so vividly. I bet Lily will remember this all her life. You are a wonderful mum Meredith, and sharing such beautiful memories with your daughter is priceless. Bless you both :)