My mother and her mate, Martina, came to the show last night and cooed and gurned at me at every available instance. I have, however, learned the casual insouciance of the professional usher from the girls of the Theatre Royal and merely met their excited waves with a glance of cool scorn. Ignorant oiks, my practiced pout said.
Less practiced are my door-standing skills. I was required last night to stand at the right-hand door of the cathedral, a demanding task which meant I had to open the door and let the audience out in case of a fire, and not throw myself out it screaming before them. So useless was I in my new role that I was asked to move twice as my point of sentry was also the cast's entry door and close to much fake cannon flare. Also, when Cavaradossi stuck his head in at five to eight to ask 'is the house in?', I, ignorant both of stage speak and of the vocal manipulations of a Canadian hissing at me through a doorjam, thought he said 'Is Hannah in?', and offered to find Hannah, the stage manager. He rolled his big Canadian eyes in his big Canadian face and went off warbling exercises. 'You are wearing make-up and fake blood and you have the nerve to roll your eyes at me, Canadian' I muttered. Inaudibly, naturally. I am terribly cowed by make-up wearing Canadians. Tosca is Canadian too and terribly above it all, stalking about in a bad wig and a pained expression. Where's the Brazilian gone? Oh, dead, is he? Well, I didn't know that, I don't get to see act 2, do I?
I am well in with the guardsmen though. During the third act they are supposed to mill about the audience and interrogate random members, prod people in the ribs with their truncheons and growl menacingly. Last night two of the tallest and burliest came and stood right in front of me and conducted a conversation about how they fancied one of the whores, gradually stepping back until I was backed up against the wall and frantically giggling as silently as I could. Oh, what japes! Stagecraft, that's called.
The mother and a burnt-out vehicle. Hangin' in Tosca's hood.
All photos are courtesy of the mother. As you can she is both blind and incredibly thick.