The weather was beautiful when we set out for Stratford to see the latest play at the RSC – The Merchant of Venice. We left early and took a new route through Warwick, which was gorgeous but, as it turned out, involved driving up onto the sidewalk at one point in order to cross a major motorway. Adventurous! We passed through some quaint and tiny villages we’d never seen before and drove down narrow dirt paths through farmland before emerging in the familiar centre of Stratford. Then we drove even further, map in hand, to explore the charming countryside. So by the time we arrived back at the Courtyard Theatre we were so saddle sore! The play was due to start in about five minutes so we hurried up to the balcony to find our seats, only to find people already sitting in them! All the seats nearby were full, too—we compared tickets with the strangers in our seats…indeed we had been given the same seats! As we chatted, Marc studied the tickets, and his face suddenly turned pale. He told the people that we would work it out, and ushered me quickly to the rear aisle. ‘What’s the deal?’ I asked
‘What day is it?’ he asked amusedly
‘Our tickets are for Friday!’
We stared at each other. There was no way we would want to make another saddle-sore trek again tomorrow when we were so close! As we sat there frozen, a group of lost-looking teenagers gravitated toward us, and an overly helpful usher hurried over to inspect tickets and tell us all where to sit. Panic! She can’t get a look at our tickets! I hurried purposefully toward another aisle and Marc followed, confused. Seeing a few empty seats, we decided, after debating quietly, to take the seats and pretend they were ours. As the usher came back our way, we sat down confidently and tried to act natural. Then we stared at our watches, willing the play to start already! As long as the play delayed, late-coming audience members trickled in. We just knew someone would show up at the last second with their legitimate ticket and demand that we remove our usurping behinds. We waited, and waited, hearts fluttering each time a new audience member passed by. And then the lights dimmed. Hallelujah! The rush of relief was intense. We settled back to watch the RSC perform yet another great feat of theatre.