Do you want to hear a story about a tragic but ultimately hopeful tale of the best that humanity has to offer?
Oh and which involves a musical which tells a story about a tragic but ultimately hopeful tale of the best that humanity has to offer?
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR SEATBELTS PLEASE.
So...recently the producers of the hugely acclaimed musical phenomenon Come From Away Australia very generously gave me TEN double passes to give to deserving members from my Funny Mummies community - in the FRONT ROWS no less! And so it was I fulfilled my quest to be a Fairy God-Oprah for a moment, giving away tickets to mamas who were, for many varied reasons, genuinely deserving of a night off from reality!
To say I was nearly bursting out of my gusset with excitement is an understatement (JK I don’t even know exactly what a gusset is but dang I love the word).
So… after dealing with a few last minute ticket reallocations due to unforeseen circumstances (thanks Covid) the night was finally here and we were rearing to go!
It was with two minutes to spare that I finally walked in to take my seat… only to find that a gentleman was already sitting in it. Before you could say “Is this Goldilocks?” he showed me his ticket and I showed him mine, revealing that they were indeed, for the same seat. I was confused and about to ask the usher when the gentleman said “Are you Amy X?”
(Now without telling you boring complicated details, basically in the reallocating of tix, I’d ended up taking Amy’s seat when she had to cancel.)
So, I told him, no I’m not Amy, but I do indeed have her ticket.
“Oh dear,” he said, looking at his wife. “I’m so sorry, they gave us these and said it would be fine.”
To this moment I have no idea who “they” even is, but he and his wife got up to leave and I was like “I can’t kick out this couple who clearly haven’t done anything wrong and are as in the dark as I am because that’s just NOT WHO MY MAMA RAISED ME TO BE!” so I insisted they take them, thinking “I’ll go chat to the usher and they’ll sort it.” Also... #peoplePleaser*
*not always healthy, I’m told.
So I went to the usher who was lovely but busy with other last minute check-ins so she asked me to wait outside. When she came out to chat the show was literally about to start and she seemed unsure what to do about my predicament...which I don’t think I helped when I burst into tears.
I walked away and sat myself down on a seat in the foyer, pulled my mask down a little bit so I could sob a bit easier and also drink my plastic cup of bubbly. #classy
Probably rightfully afraid of me, the usher sent over a fellow usher, who told me there were indeed some single seats still available… if I wanted to purchase one.
I shook my head and thanked her and continued crying for a bit between sips.
I messaged my hubby to tell him the news. He said all the right things. “Whaattt?” “How??!!!” “You did a good thing.”
Ok. I wasn’t ready to hear the last one yet.
I suddenly gathered myself enough to realise “Oh, I actually don’t need to sit here for 100 minutes feeing sorry for myself. If I can’t Come From Away, I guess I can just Go To Home.”
I limped out of the theatre in full Fleabag mode, tears and mascara dripping down my bemasked face. As I pass the main entrance the sweet jovial old gent who’d only half an hour before checked me in saw me and said “Oh madam are you alright? Is there anything I can do?”
His gentleness made me tear up even more, though that also may just be the fact he called me “madam.” I put my hand up like a beleaguered celebrity insisting “no photos, no photos” (but who actually wants photos) and said a muffled “no thank you, I’m fine.”
As I hobbled away it occurred to me that the way I was carrying on he probably thought I’d been called away by news of a sudden death in the family, rather than just a bruising blow to my expectations.
As I hopped in the car, I quickly shot off a message to Amy, the original ticket holder, to ask if she’d happened to pass on the tickets. I know. Sherlock Holmes eat your heart out.
With my fact finding mission in motion, I drove.
I stopped via the convenience store where I bought two Golden Gaytimes and shoved them directly at my sadness faster than you can say “award winning musical theatre” in a Newfoundland accent.
When I arrived home Amy had replied: no, she never gave the tickets to anybody and had no idea what had happened. I apologised for sounding accusing, I was #upset and am #melodramatic at the #bestOfTimes and clearly should not be allowed anywhere near writing instruments when in this state, lest I #accusePeople and #overuseHashTags.
She wrote back “if it makes you feel any better I’ve been crying for over an hour too.”
“Oh no!” I replied. “Weirdly, misery doesn’t make me feel better...” which set us off on a most lovely and unexpected chat for the next little while.
As we finally signed off, I realised that if all of this debacle hadn’t happened, we would never have had this lovely moment of connection between strangers that left both of us feeling better (I hope).
The poetry of all this of course, is that this - connection between strangers - is exactly what “Come From Away” is all about.
How do I know this?
Because today, the day after the night-that-wasn’t-to-be, my hubby took me to the matinee show. #trueLove
Sure, we were literally in the backest of back rows, but the show was so stunningly gorgeous creatively and heart-fully, that it not only didn’t matter where we sat (and the QPAC Lyric doesn’t really have any bad seats), but I feel so emotionally fulfilled now that I may never need to buy a Golden Gaytime again. #nowWatchTheirStocksPlummet
Now seriously, if you haven’t seen Come From Away, I truly hope you find a way to.
It - much like this little tale - makes you believe that wonderful things can come out of the bad things that happen.
It makes you feel all the good feelings about human beings.
It makes you wonder if a world could exist where it’s actually possible for you to give somebody your seat and be genuinely gracious about it rather than sitting like a sobbing sack of pity party.
I dunno though. Let’s not get TOO far fetched…