The music swelled, the conductor expertly directing the orchestra and the choir to a triumphant crescendo. Then his hands stopped and the music ceased, the sounds of the crescendo echoing through the theater. There was a brief moment of near silence, the only sound that of the air conditioning. And then the silence was shattered by loud applause and cheering. The applause continued until the house lights came up.
It was Intermission.
As the applause ended, the hubbub began, the groups of twos, threes, and more that made up the crowd turning to one another and expressing their pleasure and enjoyment at the talent of the cast, the music, the amazing sets and more. Some spoke of how it was better than the last time while a few proclaimed loudly how it wasn’t as good as their previous experiences, although those few were generally ignored or frowned upon.
Some quickly turned to other conversations, how glad they were they’d decided to come or discussing dinner plans, while others continued conversations they were having before the start of Act 1, Scene 1, pickup up exactly where they had left off as if nothing had happened in the intervening hour or more. Others continued discussing Act 1. A few, the smallest group, just sat quietly, holding hands and enjoying the moments of precious time spent together.
The seats began to empty out as the mad rush to the restrooms began, chairs squeaking as they stood and began working their way to the end of the aisle. The lines on the stairs grew quickly as the bathroom goes tried to ensure they were back before the lights went down and Act 2 began. Many ‘excuse me’s’ and ‘pardon me’s’ were said as people of all sizes and shapes squeezed past each other to get to the aisles. Some left to get more refreshments while others just stood to stretch their leg’s and backs, cramped from the tight seating.
The noise level grew louder and louder, the hushed whispers that started at the end of the applause growing so they could be heard over the cacophony of their neighbors. Smartphones reappeared, photos were taken and shared on social media, texts were sent and emails read. The fifteen minutes passed quickly, the movement of people out of the theater and back in, the conversations, the smartphones, the moments together.
The scents of freshly applied cologne and perfume mixing with the stale scents inside the theater, thankfully diminished by the fresh air from the air conditioning. And soon the lights were blinking, the reminder that intermission was about to end and Act 2 to begin. The conversations start to trail off, seats fill up again, and soon most are seated as the lights go down.
Stragglers make their way to their seats in the dark, maneuvering up stairs and across aisles, mostly apologetic for their lateness. A few conversations continue, their participants not ready to cease prattling on until the orchestra starts to play.
And then the conductor takes his place, raises his baton, and with the flick of his wrists the orchestra begins to play.
Intermission was over.
On with the show.
Just a little writing practice inspired by an anniversary viewing of The Phantom of the Opera and a more recent viewing of Austin’s Pride, a new musical about Jane Austin and her writing of Pride and Prejudice. I hope you enjoy. Comments are welcome and appreciated.