Oh, Dear

by cindy

On Saturday, Dave and I attended the matinee of “The Rivals”, the latest production of Center Stage in Baltimore. We have been season subscribers for years but only recently changed our tickets from evening performances to afternoons. In doing so, we quickly noticed that the age of the average audience member escalated into, well, into a decade or two older than ours. And the color of the hair of the average audience member, when there is hair, is remarkably several shades whiter than ours. Not to say we aren’t gray. We most certainly are…grayer than most of the white-haired audience. Not that this matters, really. It’s simply an observation. Truly.

Anyway, we arrived a bit early (as do most audience members of a certain age, it seems) which gave us a chance to read the program or ponder the day or otherwise relax and observe others as they grappled for their seats. I happened to notice two rather elderly ladies as they entered our aisle and sat in the two seats to my right. The one who sat directly beside me was a tiny thing, snow white hair, fragile and frail, rather like a little bird. It was clear that her height had diminished over the years as her body seemed to be curling in on itself. Smartly dressed, complete with heavily rouged cheeks, she was what my mother would have labeled “a dear, old soul.”

Given our proximity, and her possible hearing loss, there was no way I could not have heard her as she pointed to this print reproduced in the program

and bellowed, “I think I know this man. I remember him from somewhere.”

The slightly younger woman who had accompanied her paused and hesitatingly explained, “Well, dear, I…I…I don’t think you know him. That’s a picture of the man who wrote this play. He lived in the 18th century.”

“Really? Are you sure? Hmmm.”

While we may be sure that Richard Sheridan lived well over two centuries ago, I’m not at all convinced that this dear, dear, old soulĀ didn’t know him, regardless.