Friday, May 15, 2009

Ramona's Mother

Last night, the Matron saw Ramona Quimby for the second time.  Alone.  

She had an excellent center seat, five rows in.  Perfect!  

As she was settling in, Much Ado transpired.  A young mother with four wee ones in tow (the youngest a baby) appeared next to her, confused about seating.

Young mother to the Matron and four people next to her:  "I think you're all in my seats?"

Within a few minutes, a dozen people were attempting to figure out why so many people had tickets for the same seats until the ever-observant Matron peered at the young mother's tickekts and deployed her doctoral skills:  "Why, your tickets are for Wednesday night,  not Thursday."

That poor mama brought her children to the wrong performance!   She practically burst into tears.  One of the children, did.  With two minutes to go until that curtain opened, the crowd stood frozen, deer in headlights all.   

Young Mother:  "I guess we'll just go, then."

Over the Matron's dead body.  That woman deserved a medal for getting out of the house with three children under seven AND a toddler (all with strong family resemblence).

An experienced audience member and General Control Feak (just ask Stryker), the Matron took quick command, noting that there were many available, open seats if people just ignored their assignment and scooted over.

Matron to those sitting in the disputed seats:  "Why, I'll move back one row to that seat.  If you two move down one and if your family shifts a seat, they can all sit together, here."

The Matron had to BATTLE two armies in order to enforce these last-minute decisions.  First, the young mother could not possibly allow the Matron to move BACK one row to a theoretically farther-away view (she's talking ten inches).  Second, the rest of the pack were hell-bent to be rule bound and anxious about moving out of their assigned seat.

Involved Audience Member Concerned about Moving:  "Are you sure it's okay?  How do you know so much?  Why don't you mind moving backwards?"

Matron:  "I've seen the show already.   And I know it's truly okay to move.   There's plenty of space.  Look -- even if someone comes in late and needs any of our seats, there are so many throughout the theatre and nearby. It's totally fine, I know it."

IAMCM previously mentioned:  "Why have you seen the show before?"

Matron:  "I have a child in the show.   I've been here enough to know that this kind of thing can happen -- it's no big deal."

IAMCM:  "Who is your child?"

Thirty seconds to go! The Young Mother looked positively panicked.  There was no way in the world the Matron was going to allow for the possibility that this woman and her children could not sit down.  

So she outed herself as Ramona's mother.

IAMCM:  "Remind me where you wanted me to move again?"

Why did she know this would work?  Thus established as a credible authority figure, the assembled patrons reassembled according to the Matronly design and that poor frazzled Mama was able to sit down in her good seats and watch the show.

And the Matron?   She got a completely unanticipated reward for her actions.   First, Scarlett's performance was about 100 times sharper than the performance from which these reviews were penned.   Coincidentally, the reviewed performance was the OTHER show the Matron saw, as well.  The Matron's not sure if time has been the ticket for her daughter or if the critics came on a down day.  

Regardless.    She was happy!

Scarlett has auditioned for three shows in three weeks and hasn't landed a role yet.  With just one role secured for next season, that child is genuinely worried.    That's the world the Matron is currently living in.   Between the new commercian work and the theatre, all of Scarlett's life is about showing up and asking:  "Please let me in!"

Which that child has shown a propensity to do, over and over, rejection after rejection, success, success, rejection and rejection again.  

So last night, the unexpected reward?   During intermission and after the show, all those theatre-goers showered the Matron with unfettered and genuine--slightly amazed--praise for her daughter.   In the midst of the rejections and critical reviews, the Matron let all the worries go and just enjoyed the show.  Really.

And the Young Mother said this, afterward, with feeling.  "Watching my own child up there?  I just can't imagine how that feels to see your daughter performing like that in front of hundreds of people!"

Last night?  Without her critic's hat or fear of the future, she was just Ramona's mother.  Present. And it felt terrific.

19 comments:

MJ said...

Hurrah Ramona and her Mom! This post brought tears to my eyes!

Former Minnesota Maiden said...

What a thoughtful response. Thank you for your flexibility and caring, and may your example serve to inspire IAMCM to do the same should a similar situation arise in which she could help someone.

kmkat said...

Excellent work, Matron! For the record, it was not your control freak self that ordered everyone around, it was your teacher and mother selves. Both of those require one to take charge of a chaotic situation and make it work. Kudos!

kmkat (Blogger and/or TypeKey have been pissy FOR TWO DAYS! about letting me comment anywhere)

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

This is why I love you.

Becky said...

Aw, that must have felt so great. And I love the image of you bossing people around in the nicest possible way. It drives me crazy when people won't use their heads and break the rules.

smalltownmom said...

Kudos to you for making the world (or at least the audience) run smoothly.

Karen ~ said...

Yay for you! I have been greatly intimadated by the ushers at that theater in the past so I would have loved to have been part of your "you move here and you move down and I will go here and there! We're all set" party.

I still have to get over there and see this show before it's done!

Lynda said...

What a beautiful post - what a beautiful person you are.

Michele Renee said...

What a wonderful night!

Professor J said...

You are a lovely control freak.

matronslittlebrother said...

What a great story! Good for you to move the masses around and interesting to be reminded of the cultural differences between MN and the NYC area. Here people either wld have quickly moved without fear (less regard for authority/order) or ignored you. I like to think it's more likely the former, especially with families...

Amy said...

That was wonderful and one of those kindnesses that will someday be passed on. Good for you! And good for Scarlett. Hope she lands some big roles soon.

Miss Grace said...

It SOUNDS terrific.

Mrs. G. said...

You earned mama karma, sister! We should never forget the heroic efforts of women out and about with three small children. NEVER.

The Gossamer Woman said...

Good for you. Isn't it great to be someone's mother? Someone who counts? You get to be someone special yourself for a little while and bask in the glory.

You did a very good deed, Matron. There should be more assertive people like you out there taking pity on their fellow human beings.

I'll remember what you did and see if I can equal it in some way.

TexasDeb said...

What a night of giftedness. Your daughter's artistry. You being there again, that night, to see her shine. The gift you gave the Young Mother, to right the universe that threatened to have gone so terribly wrong. Kudos all around.

Heather said...

And you are all kinds of fabulous.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Isn't it amazing what good things can result when someone takes charge?

Anonymous said...

I recently took my 13 year old boys to see Ramona and we all LOVED IT! We sat in the first row and thought Scarlett did a BRILLIANT job! The role suited her very well or visa versa. The twins and I have seen many of Scarlett's productions and this was one of our favorites. (Helen was fabulous too, however, we like to hear Scarlett).

Before the show, we went to The Bad Waitress. That... wasn't so great.

Way to make things work Matron!