“How I wish they sold popcorn in places like these.” Was Cards’ first complaint as his big square tush hit his seat. Cards was always like that when we watched anything. He’d be the first to invite and eagerly push like the oversized over aged frat boy that he was, and then with no fail, complain. Once we were even kicked out of a rock concert because he loudly complained that the music wasn’t loud enough. “Honey,” Marbles shouldered her obnoxious husband. And Cards oblivious to the hint thundered even louder, “I mean why don’t they sell popcorn here. It’s a show isn’t it, what’s a show without popcorn. And you pay so much just for a bad seat like this. You don’t hear the TV complaining about people eating popcorn.” And as expected a choral “Shhhh” emanated from our host of back seat compatriots. Rolling his rectangular eyes, Cards murmured, “Live theatre is so over rated.”
The play was good enough, at least the first ten minutes of it. The play was about this special mental facility made for rich people’s kids, where people were designated a letter in lieu of their name, because the medical policy was to entirely let go of the past. The hero’s name was X, a spoiled cry baby, and his love interest was Y, a strangely emotionally independent and stable minded mental case. The two become friends in the asylum and become literally interchangeable hence the title, X=Y. The play complicates when the hero grew dependent of the girl and literally drove her to suicide. Allegorical, and dangerously in the line between good and preachy. It was written and directed by a Jaime Quatro, nicknamed Four, a supposed to be rising theatre genius of our age.
I said the first ten minutes was good. I can’t really vouch for the rest of it myself. The little synopsis above was honestly lifted from the programme except the part about good and preachy. I stopped watching because at the drop of 10:01, something happened, something dreadfully ecstatic, something wonderfully horrifying, something beautifully grotesque that not even the brilliant stylings of Jaime Quatro could match.
I heard a flap of fairy wings. I felt a cold shudder as I saw her gait barely even touching the stage, I smelled the rain. And I tasted her eyes.
She entered! That stranger in the rain was playing the role of Y. That beautiful storm drenched thing was saying lines written by some other man, moving to the orders of some other monster. Suddenly, I hated Four. I hated him, that he held this creature far more divine than the angels in his whims. I imagined him soiling her lips with his after a long troubled rehearsal, or touching her thighs with his dirty ink stained hands. When my anger almost drew me to stand up and walk out or stand up and fling myself onto that amateur thespian playing X, I would then remember that I was seeing her. I was seeing her. Hearing her, and the memory of that split second gaze one night so long ago redeemed my anguished soul. I would, in my mind, write a better play. I have read more of them to put out a good one! I would cast her. I would make her mine. Down with Four! Down with Four! She is too good, too much for him. Down with Four! And the my head swam like that during the next two hours of the performance, with me going back and forth two heavily contrasting visions: tortures for that nominal genius, and deep solemn admiration for a girl then to my knowledge was named Y.
It was then that was my time to be shouldered by Marbles. The audience hardly seemed appreciative of the play, and in my head I smirked, “Ha! Not so much of a genius after all,” but then saw that it was my immortal beloved’s turn to take a bow. With full gusto, I rose and with the ignorance and full energy of a school boy in love I clapped and screamed at the top of my once shy lungs, “Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful! Excellent! En core!” Until I noticed that even she was embarrassed and the entire house was silently staring at that class-less buffoon who somehow got in security.
As our custom, we waited for the other audience members to scuttle out so that Marbles and Cards could wheedle my, as the obvious critic in the group, opinions on the show.
And when we were out of ear-shot, Cards asked me, “So how was it?”
“What is her name?”
“That girl. That girl in your shop who gave us the passes.”
My heart leapt. “Yes. What was her name?”
“Ariel. How was the show?”
And I stormed out, unembarrassed and newly vindicated as the poor couple followed and wondered what happened to their homely almost-too-shy pet.
Ariel, her name was Ariel.
© 2012 Jay Crisostomo IV