I love local theater. The going. And the returning. Not so much the being there.
Over the weekend, I decided to take 7-year-old Dylan and 5-year-old Summer to a local production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
Dylan had just read the book in school with her class and tickets were only $10 each, which is a real bargain in this day of ridiculous prices for children’s entertainment.
We left late and rushed over there. I was so relieved that I had booked tickets over the phone, to avoid any last minute snafus.
We get there right at showtime and hurry into the theater where we see approximately 40 empty seats. There is absolutely no one else in the theater. I love a good seat selection but this is quite troubling.
I immediately have a flash back to once showing up to a yoga class where it turned out to be me and the instructor. Oh gosh how I wanted to leave. But I felt trapped. So I stayed. At least a theater is a lot darker than a yoga studio.
We sit down and then there must be some kind of heavenly theatrical intervention because one other family shows up. Even so, within a a few minutes, there are more actors on the stage than people watching. This is nerve wracking for a few reasons…
1. We can’t go to the bathroom or the actors will lose half their audience.
2. Every time I look at one of the performers, he or she makes eye contact with me which feels weird. I thought they are supposed to look above the audience?!
3. One of the actors sees me yawn.
4. We have to participate in robust applause after every number because we feel bad for the performers. (5-year-old Summer does not help in this effort. At all. But bless Dylan for sitting in the first row by herself and clapping her heart out.)
And oh my gosh, there are so many songs. It felt like three words of dialogue, then a song, 10 words of dialogue, another song, 11 words of dialogue, and yet another song! With the constant singling and low budget staging, I found the show a bit tedious, but my girls were enraptured. They absolutely adored it.
I guess when a show is about chocolate, it just somehow always works.