Jim Siergey: Foot Loose Parade

December 24th, 2018

The cultural twosome that we are, my wife and I attended The Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier’s production of “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream”.

As many of you know, it is a play that has a play within the play. However, the bit of drama that took place a few feet from my seat turned the evening’s performance into a play within a play within a play.

Our seats were in the back row of the main floor. They are slightly elevated with a footrest giving one a very nice view of the stage. My seat is at the end of the row.

A few feet to the right of me sits a quartet of regular chairs, two in front and two behind. A middle-aged couple was seated in the two rear chairs. Before the play began I heard a murmuring hubbub and from the corner of my eye saw someone removing one of the chairs.

It was an older woman with a backpack strapped to her back removing the chair so she could position her husband in his wheelchair in that spot. The seated couple was explaining that the aisles needed to be cleared for the actors who sometimes used them for access in entering and departing.

I paid no more mind to the situation as I assumed attendants would take care of the situation. In the meantime, the entire rigmarole of getting the wheelchair in place, removing coats, etc. seemed to peeve the female half of the previously seated couple.

All got into place, the play began and it was fantastical, complete with fairies and sprites, babes lost in the woods and even doo-wop music.

As Act I ended and intermission came upon us, I heard a guy a few seats away from me describe the play to his partner as “Shakespeare meets Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Jay Ward.” Not bad, I thought, not bad.

jackbennytobe

It was like in To Be Or Not To Be…

 

In the middle of the fifteen minute intermission, the wheelchair husbanded woman suddenly got up and began maneuvering the wheelchair to exit the theater. While doing so, the woman behind her exclaimed “You just rolled over my foot!” Apologies ensued as she continued to extricate her husband and his wheelchair out of the area and out into the foyer.

Since it was so late in the intermission period I assumed that the couple decided to leave for good. The podally injured woman continued to be a bit too indignant, I thought, and continued to carp and complain to her silent mate.

The lights dimmed and Act II began.

After a few minutes I noticed a shuffling hubbub going on and it was the woman and her wheel-chaired husband returning. As she attempted to reposition him in the darkness a whoop of a yelp erupted from the seated woman. “You ran over my foot again!” she shrieked.

Once again apologies, in hushed tones, ensued and ushers and attendants arrived to amend the scene. A bit of muted muttering from the twice injured woman continued for a bit before all parties settled down and allowed the action on the stage to once again become the center of attention.

At least in my little corner of the theater.

After all, if I may quote from another of Shakespeare’s theatrical offerings, “The play’s the thing.”

 

Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Natty At Nat’s

 

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