I spent the day in a high school auditorium yesterday watching one act plays while wishing for a merciful death.
It wasn't exactly how I thought I'd be spending my time.
When I agreed to attend the festival I told myself this was a chance to relive my glory days as a theatre geek while celebrating my daughter's triumphs in her drama program.
I was wrong.
I should have realized some memories are shinier when they are coated in dust and haven't seen the glare of daylight in years.
As I took a seat at the end of a row, I ignored the kids around me who all looked vaguely horrified to have their space intruded on by an 'old' person.
I'm young. I'm hip. I am not the oldest person in this room, I told myself as I nervously twirled my chin whisker.
I was the oldest person in my row but whatever. My brother-in-law sat right behind me and he's like a decade older.
Then the house lights dimmed and the adjudicator took the stage, welcomed the audience and introduced the first play.
It was the play my daughter and niece were in!
I was so excited.
There's my niece! She looks great!
Ha ha! This play is so funny!
A kid in a wheelchair playing a zany grandmother!
Oh! There's Ken! Holy cow. Her cheek bones are so sharp she could cut glass with them.
She's a twin! Um she's a little creepy.
Holy cow, I may have nightmares over my creepy kid. Thanks Ken.
HAHA. FUNNY NIECE.
Wait, what? Oh! I GET IT.
Oh, that's a little dark.
Suicide jokes. Bomb shelters. Starvation. Woah.
Oh! But there's a game of charades and someone is eating kleenex! I'll laugh!
Wow my kid does creepy evil twin really well. Weird.
It's over? That's how it ended? Really? Who cares! Well done kids! Applause! That's right. Take your bow! It was a dark subject with a tough theme and you made it awesome. Suck on that one act festival! My kids rock!
The house lights came on and the adjudicator walked out and introduced the next one act.
The lights dimmed.
Please don't be more awesome than my kid's play.
A smaller cast. My girls were way cuter.
Oh, they're singing.
What? This makes no sense.
Seriously? A one act play about the guilt a mother feels when her kid suddenly dies? Are you freaking kidding me?
Wow. They're good.
I mean, I think they're good. I'm all conflicted and reliving the guilt and horror of when my kid died. THIS IS NOT FUN.
First a play about being locked in a bomb shelter and starving to death and now this?
What the hell is wrong with kids these days?
I want to look away but dang, those kids are really good.
I hate this play but wow.
Could this get any bleaker?
Oh thank God. It's over.
I will conceed they were really good. But my daughter and niece were way cuter. Who would have thought bomb shelter insanity was funnier than a child's sudden death.
Oh, here we go. There's the adjudicator. Last play of the afternoon. This is it.
Clever set. I like it.
Whoever that kid is playing the soldier, he totally reminds me of my brother.
What is wrong with kids these days? Another play about death?
THEY ARE CANNIBALS?
Is that? Are you kidding me? A BABY? In a BOX?
I can't take much more of this dystopian post apocalyptic themed play.
DONT EAT THE MEAT.
I have to pee.
SHE IS STABBING HIM TO DEATH WITH A RUBBER KNIFE.
Crap. I can't leave. My kid's teacher will see me walk out if I do.
This couldn't get any bleaker if they tried.
ANOTHER BABY IN A BOX?
WHY ARE TEENAGERS THESE DAYS SO DARK AND ANGSTY?
This is all Justin Bieber's fault.
I think it's ending.
Please be ending.
Oh thank the baby jeebus, it's over.
WHAT? FAKE ENDING? IT ISN'T OVER?
I don't know if I can hold my old lady bladder for much longer.
I will clap the hardest and cheer the loudest if this will just end.
My brother-in-law just finger shot himself in the head. Good to know it's not just me. THIS PLAY IS UNENDING.
It's done! It's done!
I can totally clap and cheer as I waddle to the bathroom. It's not rude.
Oh no. The adjudicator. I forgot about him. I can hold it a few minutes more. I want to hear what he has to say about my kid.
No! Don't do reverse order! GAH.
Yes yes. They were all dark themed and dramatic.
Yes they were exceptional actors, blah blah blah.
WHO CARES ABOUT THE TECHIES! Sorry techies, I don't mean that. I just really have to pee.
Pay attention Tanis, he's talking about your kid's play now.
Oh! He liked the twins! He liked her! He really liked her.
That's it? He prattles on and on about the other plays and that's all he says about my kid's play?
Lame. Merciful gods, he's done.
Yes, yes, cheers and applause. Move kid! OLD LADY BLADDER EMERGENCY!
THERE IS NO TOILET PAPER IN THIS STALL.
I am stuck in high school hell.
I am too old for this.
I hate one act play festivals. How did I ever think this was fun?
What? That's it? No more plays for the afternoon? I can leave?
Some high school experiences are best left trapped in the boxes of your memory. Much like those poor soon-to-be cannibalized babies on stage.