The theatre was old and hidden away in an alley that was once a place of high entertainment—a playground of the rich and cultured, with up-scale clubs and restaurants. All that is left now is the alley, a dark and dingy place with crumbling buildings… except the theatre which has managed somehow to hold on to its façade of faded grandeur.
I walk toward the entrance, stepping gingerly through a carpet of litter. The once grand double doors hang crazily on loosened hinges. Though somewhat afraid, I stand in the dim light behind rows of faded, dusty crimson seats where once the rich in gowns and tuxes sat.
What’s that I hear? Can it be music? The sound is so far away that is barely recognizable.
I walk down the centre aisle and take a seat in front, in one of the most expensive seats and stare at a stage festooned in dangling cobwebs that appear to be disturbed by a breeze from somewhere beyond the wings. It is eerie. I want to run, but I am glued to this old seat that when I move it creaks.
Suddenly and from out of nowhere, I hear an overture so loud and clear, and in the pit, an orchestra is playing. The musicians are dressed in tuxes—skeletons dressed in tuxes. Their instruments, though dulled with age, are sweet of sound. And there before me, the curtains of cobwebs part and on stage are the dancers, skeletons dressed in colorful costumes. They are dancing together in pairs and in chorus lines. Then, for the grand finale, swordsmen skeletons, some dressed in shiny white armor, some in dark rush on stage where the battle begins. It was an extravaganza, an opera wherein the white bones fight the dark and evil ones. There is no blood, of course, just shattered bones. Clackity clack… the sounds are deafening, but in the end the skeletons of purity defeat the dark bones of evil.
Then, as suddenly as the show began, it ends. The curtains of cobwebs drop and the stage darkens again, I leave the old and forgotten theatre knowing that always there is something to be learned… even from old bones—
A week or so later, I returned to the alley thinking to photograph the old theatre, but there was nothing left except a pile of rubble… bricks and bits of mortar. The theatre it seemed had not stood the test of time after all—had I?
©October 6, 2006