27th November 2004 Mrs. Monk is Able to Suspend Her Disbelief to Nth degree
Mrs. Monk is teaching Othello at school this year, as are most teachers in this land, teaching A level students.
I agreed to accompany her on the voyage across London to the Riverside Studios for a matinee performance.
The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, an old stomping ground, when we lived in West London, but have not been there for some ten years or more.
Mrs. Monk is warned that the journey might take 3 hours on a Saturday Christmas-shopping-type-day through London, but she disappoints me by disappearing to the swimming pool for several hours.
We were nevertheless blessed with a remarkably easy journey and were able to make up for lost time.
On arrival, I undertook to feed a vociferous pay-and-display meter while Mrs. Monk advanced without me to collect the tickets from the booking office.
I discovered that the meter required about £5 in loose change and I had less than a pound in my pocket. I ran on to theatre and eventually found Mrs. Monk enjoying a relaxing drink in the bar. Get change from her. Ran back to car. Do my paying and displaying. Run back to theatre where Mrs. Monk is waving imperiously as if she has everything under control.
"Hurry", she calls out unhelpfully.
We made our way into the "auditorium"
The house was full.
The theatre is in fact a "studio space" and the seating is arranged as a "traverse" theatre where two banks of seating face the performing area in the centre, which is where we found ourselves,….. alone.
A thousand pairs of eyes were looking down upon Mr. and Mrs. Monk who were responsible for delaying the start of the performance.
We were obliged to stare back at the audience in the forlorn hope of finding two vacant seats
It was an Easyjet situation. No seat allocation. First come first seated, and we were once again the last to be seated.
Eventually we made our way to the top of one bank of seats within the rafters, climbed over some people, and obliged some others to move and make way for the Monks.
Mrs. Monk alluded to watching a basketball game with no escape. She also wrote a wrote a note as follows:-
"Othello was big, black and beautiful.... Iago was manipulative, malevolent and seedy, hiding in the corners and plotting the demise of all those he met. Some suggested latent homosexuality and lesbian lover stuff. Emilla smoked on the set and a real candle was lit for the death scene of Desdamona.
Husband said he understood it all.
Then the best part of the day.. Harrods on the way home."
"Husband said he understood it all."
I don't remember saying that.
The final act with all the murder and sex and suicide, brought on a fair amount of sniggering from mobile-phone-dropping school girls behind us, but even with these distractions, Mr. and Mrs. Monk were both moved by the tragedy.
However, Mrs. Monk is able to suspend her disbelief to Nth degree. Since she is not skilled in art of the discreet British weep, she was moved, once more, in a face-distorting-of-a-wailing-widow type grief.
I watched a thousand excited and delighted faces make their way out of the theatre, and on my arm, Mrs. Monk had completely lost it.