Red curtains, golden decorations, dimmed lights, a charged silence… A night at the theatre!
This post is to thank my parents for taking me with them to the theatre when I was little. I have the best memories of those nights. First of all, I could stay up waaay past normal kiddie bedtime. Second of all, we would drive to a BIG city (usually Brussels or Antwerp and for a country girl like me, this was a big thing. I would also dress up for these occasions and feel very special and pretty). Thirdly, I would get a drink in a fancy bar or foyer (I would take an orange juice, because it looked sophisticated). And last, but not least, I got to see some wonderful performances (some of them I still remember very detailed. Which is weird, because I have a lousy memory). I would recommend every parent to take their children to events like this because they will love it (well not all of them… but at least try taking them). What’s funny is that in my memory these theatres or concert halls were HUGE, but when I go there now, they’re just average, not big, not small.
In Antwerp we have a beautiful theatre called the Bourla. It used to be an opera-house and they have tried to keep it as intact as possible which is awesome. Whenever we went to see a play there, I would feel like a movie character (and regret not to have taken a fan for extra drama). My cultural curiosity was awakened by these trips and my parents never had to push me, so that’s great. One year, my brother and I were asked to play little devils for the Redentiner Osterspiel. I was ten, and my brother was eight, and we had a lot of fun. Every night we had to perform we got to wear latex outfits, fur trousers and extravagant make-up. To get in these latex costumes we had to roll around in talcum powder because otherwise we wouldn’t get in there. All the older performers spoiled us rotten because we were the youngest and we enjoyed every minute of it. We didn’t have any lines (except some nonsense we had to yell I think), but we got to do a lot of fun stuff like torture people by walking on top of them and feeding them filthy stuff (and instead of being punished for it, we received applause). I also remember not having to do my homework one night, because there wasn’t time and my parents wrote a note to tell the teachers that I was excused. This was way better than being ill and not doing my homework because I didn’t feel good. I still have vivid memories of those nights. We performed in open air, the magnolias were blossoming, there were fires, blankets and hot coco to keep us warm and everyone was so nice to us.
I can still get this tingly feeling in my belly whenever I enter a beautiful theatre or opera-house, but as excited as I was as a child I will never be again (don’t we all miss this youthful excitement). I’m very grateful that my parents gave me these experiences and when I have children I will definitely take them to see awesome performances (if they want to of course). Going to the theatre, the opera or a ballet is still different from going to the movies or a concert because most people still dress up a bit, and it always feels a bit like travelling through time. Not that I don’t enjoy movie theatres or concert halls, but they have a different kind of atmosphere. My recommendation for today is: Go and check out a play (or an opera or a ballet) in an authentic theatre and enjoy the experience!