There I was, lucky enough to be at the glorious Met, in the third row. My generous daughter had splurged on a ticket for me. She and her husband were also going, but they were sitting in cheaper seats in the back.
First, I demurred politely and insincerely. “You shouldn’t have.” Then I accepted happily.
That was a mistake.
A nearly blind person should never sit in the third row in almost total darkness, surrounded by laughing, engaged, enthusiastic neighbors, all of whom can see. Lots of small kids and their parents happily sat up front all around me, transfixed, beautifully behaved. I was the only malcontent.
I’d reread the text on my reading machine. I love the play! It is indeed, magical. My favorite characters, of course, are the mechanicals. I’m a sucker for clowns. But the whole comedy is romp, on the page and onstage – when visible.
I heard beautifully and, if I had been listening at home that would have sufficed. But the lighting was such and my seat was such that I saw only darkness. The frustration of having everyone around me watching the “mechanicals” while I listened but saw nothing was overwhelming. I was the most disappointed kid there.
It made me more jealous and resentful than I think I’ve ever been. How come…? Who knows? It’s my fault, not Shakespeare’s, nor Britten’s, nor the Met’s. It was certainly not my generous daughter’s fault. I just didn’t want to be blind at this performance!
Okay, I know, I know.
Pun intended. Shakespeare would have liked it!