A while back, we went to the cinema for the first time in about 8 years. It's all changed!
The first thing that hit us was the lack of people working in them now - you no longer go in, queue up and ask for 2 tickets for whatever film you want... oh no. NOW you have to stand, looking at a ticket machine.
Sorry madam - I hope you don't mind being included in this photo... let me know if you do and I'll cut you out and re-post it
When you eventually work out how to move around the on-screen menus, you can select your film, pay for it by card (they don't take cash)... PAYING a 'processing fee' on top of the ticket price, and then you're free to go to the concessions stand. Why it's called a concessions stand is beyond me because given the price of popcorn, it's anything BUT a concession.
Apparently, you can also buy tickets that we'd just bought at the machines at the concessions stand too - it's not obvious... the signage telling you this is none existent as they clearly don't want you to bother them with ticket sales...
SO, once you've bought a bag of popcorn and a drink the running total for part self-service trip out is circa £30 for 2 people! If you're not in shock yet, you will be by the time you work out which theatre is showing your film... the "person" who takes a glance at your tickets as you walk past him/her doesn't direct you... no, it's expected you can work it out. Now OK - it IS on your ticket but it's very faint print I bet many folk wander in to the wrong screen.
Once you're settled *read cleared away the rubbish left by the previous occupants* you then endure about 20 mins of adverts before getting to the film you've paid to see.
In short, it's horrible... no staff, no effort just a money grabbing operation that, if you want to see a current film, you have to endure.
The good thing about it however is that it planted a seed within - we decided in future, to wait a few months, buy the DVD, watch it and then either sell it on via eBay for half it's cost or give it to a Charity shop... either way, we'd be £20 up on the deal AND be able to pause the film to nip for a wee!
Andy then got to thinking... he decided that perhaps we could go to theatre more often instead of the cimena... yes, I know it's not an "apples for apples" comparison but it still offers a night out, you still can eat popcorn but more importantly you get a good feeling that you're supporting a good cause... not forgetting you also mingle and therefore easily interact with many like-minded people.
In Wakefield, we're very lucky to have a beautiful old Theatre - The Theatre Royal.
Since Andy's Epiphany, we've been a few times ...(the plan is once a month but life doesn't always allow that) and on Friday we went again. This time neither of us had actually looked at what the show was. I know most folk will think that barmy, but even if I we don't like something, we can appreciate the effort and time that has gone in to it's production... On Friday, this WAS one of those occurrences - well certainly to begin with.
The show was simply called "Dance, Sing & Act" (well those words in whatever order). It was a production from performance academy. You can read about it here if you like: http://www.theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk/join-in/performance-academy/
As it went on and the next age groups came on, it got better.... when I say better, I mean more tolerable. NO matter - you have to admire the commitment, energy and sheer determination the preformers put in. I have no doubt that every single one of them was trying their hardest.
Which leads me to the point (eventually) of this post. Understudies! At one part of the show, one of the MC's came out and said the next song will be sung tonight by "so and so" as the original cast member was ill and unable to perform. SO the understudy leaps into action.
Which got me thinking - It's hard work mentally for an understudy... KNOWING you weren't "judged" good enough to get the part in the first place, but to be "USED" to bale them out when things go wrong. This triggered a bit of inward thinking and it occurred to me, that Andy and I are understudies of sorts. We spend our entire lives beavering away in the background, wearing ourselves out for other people/organisation's benefit - rarely getting even a thank you for our efforts.
So, to ALL the other understudies of the world - WE SALUTE YOU!
Until next time,,,