Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And A Good Time Was Had By All

I remembered something today that made me laugh.  Sometimes you wonder how you can be so dense, but it does make for some interesting situations.

A few decades ago I was in the habit of making regular trips from the town where we lived to the nearest city in order to accompany a friend to dinner theater productions in a large hotel.  Dinner Theater was relatively new to our area in those days and it was a lot of fun.  Many formerly well known tv stars were cast members and it was great food, crazy plays, and just a good time all around.  At that time it wasn't mostly a weekend treat for senior citizens, but for people in their 20's and 30's and 40's.

I remember our first visit there. We knew there was to be a sumptuous buffet to begin the evening.  As we entered the large ballroom area our attention was drawn instantly to the buffet table. WOW!  It was impressive. There must have been 100 different dishes to choose from. Everything from soup to nuts, from pomegranates to gefilte fish...wow, gefilte fish?  Talk about something for everyone!  

My friend and I loaded up our plates and tied into the best meal we had eaten in many a year, but as we sat looking about us we commented that we found the stage surprisingly and disappointingly small. What kind of decent drama production could take place on such a teeny platform?

As dinner was ending someone stood up on the platform and dragged a dais to the centre, and several men hauled chairs up to sit in a row behind it.  All the men were wearing their best attire and yarmulkes on their heads.  One of them stepped forward to the microphone in front of the dais and made an announcement in what sounded like Hebrew or Yiddish.......wha....???  My friend and I looked at each other and wondered what kind of play we had bought tickets for. We checked our tickets.  This did not appear to be the opening of The Odd Couple.  Come to think of it, when we entered the room no one had asked for our tickets, nor had we been given programmes for the play.  No one had seated us anywhere in particular, we had just seated ourselves at the first available table next to the buffet as the place was filling up quickly all ready when we arrived.

Then across the platform came a young teenaged boy, also wearing a yarmulke and looking very proud. We took a closer look at the other patrons sitting all around us and came to a startling realization, a revelation so to speak.  O my....o no....o for heaven's sake.  Suddenly the lights came on in our brains.  This was NOT the dinner theater!!  This was a bar-mitzvah!  My friend and I had accidentally crashed a BAR-MITZVAH!!!  O dear Lord.....what next??? Were we going to be struck dead for our brazen behaviour?

We made a quick exit before the young man began his speeches, managing not to knock over the table or draw too much attention to ourselves in our haste....although I am sure that anyone who saw us leave would have thought we were incredibly rude to be taking a bathroom break at that particular moment. 

We shot out into the hallway not knowing whether to laugh or cry at our stupidity.  After a confused few minutes we finally located the other ballroom space where the dinner theater was actually taking place.  We had completely missed dinner according to the scandalized usher, and were in danger of missing the first half of the play as he rushed us to our seats at the completely empty dinner table we had originally reserved.  "The lights are about to dim to start the first act!  If you had come in one minute later I wouldn't have been able to seat you at all until intermission!", he said accusingly.  Off to a great start with him apparently.

As the play began we started to calm down and get over the shock of what we had done. And then the giggling started.  It was like a plug had been pulled.  Neither of us could stop and we were getting louder by the second.  Oh we tried so hard to muffle ourselves but it didn't work.  My friend was hunched over clutching her stomach in vain attempts to stop laughing.  Watching her unsuccessful attempts caused me to nearly convulse with laughter.  I became aware of others seated around shushing us and frowning deeply.  Then we heard a loud "Quiet down in front!!" coming from the middle of the room and it was most certainly directed at the two of us.

That did it.  I started to choke and splutter and my friend let out a loud guffaw. We knew we had to get out of there.  We ran for the door, past the startled, now angry usher, and fled to the parking lot.  Once we both got a grip we gave up on the whole idea of our special evening out at the theater and headed for home. 

We went to 3 more dinner theaters at the hotel that season and saw some wonderful plays and pretty good acting, ate some yummy buffet meals and enjoyed ourselves immensely, but none of the subsequent nights out at the theater held a candle to that first attempt. However, trying to avoid that first usher during our other visits to the theater made for a bit of intrigue.

We also went to see Riverdance together that year....but that is another story for another time. Trying to go places with this particular friend always made for an interesting time....usually far too interesting for the people around us...sigh.....  

1 comment:

chris e. said...

That is too funny! I can just see everyone at the barmitzvah assuming you're shirt-tail relatives! At least you got a good meal. Your story is even funnier than when my husband's late 70's aunt and a friend of similar vintage went to see Mama Mia at a theater. The parking lot was crowded when they arrived and 2 burly ushers stopped them as they went in, asking if they were ABSOLUTELY SURE they wanted to go futher. They'd gotten the wrong theater. The one they showed up at had been turned into a strip place several years before. The ushers were very helpful and polled the entire crowd on their behalf, but no one could tell them where Mama Mia was playing.