Monday, December 20, 2010

Sugar plum fairies

I received an early Christmas present.
I know that it's after Christmas already, but this happened before Christmas.

Jim took me to see the Nutcracker Ballet. It was a surprise. I love surprises! I told him I wouldn't check his email. I wouldn't even look up the address of the map to Friday night's location he left at home.

Anyway... I had so much fun! He knows I'm incredibly thankful for his thoughtfulness (weeks ago, I barely mentioned that I had never seen it and would like to one day) and enjoyed (almost) every second of the evening. However, we both agree that we possibly don't enjoy "the arts" to the extent that other persons do. I shall tell of one of those persons shortly.

It was in a large old theater, similar to the Alabama Theater. Everything from jeans to strapless evening gowns were present. We took our seats and read our programs, as neither one of us knew the story. There's a party, everyone dances, the magic uncle shows up, gives out gifts, everyone dances, Fritz and Clara are happy, everyone goes home, Clara falls asleep on the couch with her new doll and dreams, the Mouse King dances (aka fights) with the Nutcrackers army and is killed, Clara falls in love with the Prince, everyone dances including the Sugar Plum Fairy, Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Little Bakers, and Candy Canes. Clara is made queen amidst more dancing.... then she wakes up. The End. Easy enough.

While we were reading, I overheard the young man next to me tell his other neighbor that his wife was in the ballet. How sweet and supportive, I thought. Ballet probably isn't his favorite thing to watch but he is here for her.

Au contraire.

The room went dark and the music began. The supportive husband immediately began directing the music and humming. Off key. Apparently, he hadn't read the Classical Music Book of Rules for the Enthusiastic Listener. It says and I quote, "The only circumstance upon which one may hum along with the workings of the great musical writers shall only be when one is alone." Duh. The curtain was raised and he stopped directing and humming. I guess he figured the sound system did not need his assistance anymore.

Okay, everyone is dancing and the costumes were fun. We don't think Fritz glanced in the mirror before he pranced out due to a very swarthy swab of makeup on his right cheek. Anyway, the uncle comes and brings out a life-sized dancing soldier. This guy's robot moves were amazing.... but he was wearing pantyhose. I knew that that is what male ballerinas wear but it's still rather horrifying. I felt like I should apologize to Jim for even watching. Moving on.
She gets the doll and everyone dances some more. Party's over and the guests go home and Clara falls asleep and falls in love with her now pantyhose-wearing-Nutcracker-prince.

Now this is where you start losing the storyline. Because now, everyone is just dancing. They aren't having a party, they didn't receive a nutcracker doll, they aren't doing magic tricks.... they're just dancing. And let me say that I am not trying to disregard the incredible physical hardships that a ballerina must undergo to be able to do some of the moves they were doing. I know it must be very hard. I just didn't appreciate them as much as my neighbor. He highly appreciated them. The crowd clapped at the end of every dance. HE clapped whenever he felt like it, whispering loudly, "Oh, that is hard!" or, "She is incredible!" or, "Amazing job!" Okay, dude, you know a lot about ballet. We know. Please be quiet.

Then his cellphone went off. Forever and a day it rang and he didn't move for it. It was only when I looked under my seat to make sure someone's phone hadn't slid under it that he realized, "Oh! That's my phone ringing! I thought that it sounded familiar!"

More and more dancing.

When it was over, Jim helped me into my coat and we escaped the pressing mob and breathed the cold outdoor air gladly. As we walked back to the truck we laughed together, knowing that many people would criticize us for our shallow view of the work of art we just witnessed. We also laughed with relief over the realization that neither one of us liked ballet as much as that young man.


Katie Larissa said...

That's kinda like when I went to see the Broadway musical Wicked and I sat beside a very gay, very vocal young man whose dream was to play the lead part, (which happens to be a girl,) and who cried, yes cried, at several parts. Totally cracked me up.

savy said...

Oh, you people.

Ted said...

Enjoyed your description of the ballet. As I watch the pro bowl, so-called "football" game, I'm struck that it's all just an elaborate ballet. They don't wear panty hose, but they do wear tight pants. They pretend to block, they pretend to rush and they pretend to tackle - but mostly they just dance around and hug.