Thursday, 11 February 2010

Musical: Billy Elliot in London

We can get to Billy Elliott by taking the London bus #88 for one stop and the Victoria tube line for 3 stops – leave the house at 2:10 and be safely in our seats by 2:30 pm. Tonia has gone to Egypt, so for this week the set of four tickets has turned into events for 3: Wyona, Zoe and me. 

Zoe and I took the C2 home. She stopped to pick up a pair of gloves that were in the middle of the road as we went to get on the bus. I was frantic, trying to move her along, telling her that someone else had dropped those gloves, and that we should leave them there. I was seeing cars whiz by us, and I was nervous. 

As Wyona says when we run across streets, “Greg won’t let us live this dangerously when he is with us.” 

Zoe’s mind couldn’t be changed. She picked up those gloves. I forgot about the incident until we were half way home. She had a look of utter amazement on her face when she was going through her purse and pulled out a second pair of gloves, just like the ones she had on. I didn’t think we had travelled over the area where she picked up the gloves, but she was right about one thing: they were an exact match with the gloves she does carry in her purse.

After Billie Elliott, we split up, Zoe and me heading home, Wyona heading to the Coliseum to get tickets for an opera tonight. Tonight Glen asked us on the phone how we are affording all of these West End Performances. 

I asked essentially the same question to Wyona tonight when I asked her how long you have to live here until you feel that London is your town. “Oh, about 3 years,” she said. The truth is – sometimes the tickets are £2 pounds, and sometimes £20 pounds. If the tickets are more than that, we make blood oaths with each other never to tell the real price. Seniors get concessions 3 hours before the performance at the Colesium. At the Savoy, unsold tickets can be purchased one hour before the performance. Front row seats are available for £25 for Sister Act at 10 am the day of the performance. So much to remember! 

Tonight, Wyona jumped the cue of younger people who were lined up for the seats that are sold to all, one hour before the performance. Seniors get the same tickets, 3 hours before the performance. So ... an around about answer to the question of where all of this money comes from – though an old memory from two years ago did surface for us tonight. The last time we saw Lucia de Lammermour, we got the tickets from the Colesium box office. When the clerk told us they would be £60 pounds each we choked. Both of us were shaking our heads from east to west, saying no, we couldn’t afford it, and we were whispering to each other, when will we ever get this chance again. We committed to never tell anyone the price of the tickets. We both remembered making that promise to each other.

Wyona and I are physically stronger now that we have been here 3 days. We are losing enough of our jet lag that we can do two shows in the same day now – without a bag of wine gums to keep us awake. I hate eating those little beasts, but they do stop a person from nodding off. 

I was to study up on Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, the show at the Colesium. I made a date with Wikipedia and U-tube, where I get most of my information these days. So my research for the evening performance was done.

“I want my money back,” I whispered to Wyona after the first 3 minutes of the performance. She started to giggle. 

“Arta, I was hurrying so fast I didn’t even look at what I was buying. I just said, give me two tickets for tonight and the woman at the ticket wicket showed me where they would be. At least I know that – those seats down there at the front of the dress circle are ours.” 

When the hero began singing to the heroine and calling her Lucia, we knew we were in the wrong opera. Our heroine should have been called Adina if we were watching Rossini’s The Elixir of Love.

Our timing was two minutes off tonight on the way there. We had to sit at the back of the balcony until we could get to our good seats when the lights came up. Actually the timing was fine, it was the two sisters who were a bit off. We couldn’t run the same marathon with the same time that we had run at noon. Wyona was sucking air coming up from the tube at the Trafalgar Square subway – we just can’t run the escalators and the halls at top speed at 7 pm. 

Juli McCue gave me a gift a couple of weeks ago, an RCA Digital Voice Recorder. What has taken me so long to get it turned on is that I needed personalized lessons to get it going. Having none, I have been reading the instruction manual that came with the gift. That was my morning’s – loading the Digital Voice Manager onto my computer, and figuring out how to turn on the record button and how to manage the files. 

I have to admit, it is exhilarating to pull that machine out of my purse, speak a few words into it, and slip it back into its place – much faster than taking notes with a pen and pencil. I am not quite up to thinking of clever things to say into the recorder. Today I was practising saying the names of the bus stops into the recorder as Zoe and I rode on the top of the double decker bus home. 

I was saying the names of the bus stops into the recorder? 




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