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A few weeks ago, in August, we went to see Wicked.
The first time Wicked came to Salt Lake City, the tickets sold out within twenty minutes. This year, when Wicked arrived into town, I was not holding my breath. But surprises happen when you expect them the least. One day I stumbled upon an advertisement on the Internet that said Wicked tickets were still available.
Without any hesitation I paid $300 for two tickets. The seats were great: mezzanine, front row, center. The night of the performance Beaker and I had a great dinner, and bursting with food and anticipation we arrived to the Capitol Theatre to see the show.
As soon as lights were off, curtains opened, and music poured out of the orchestra, I got a firm kick to the back of my neck. Two girls, age (estimated by my furious eyes) eight and ten, were sitting right behind me. Both were nicely dressed, their hair glamorously done up. The ten-year old was removing her flats and accidentally kicked me in the neck (the seats in the theatre are rising with each row.) Fine, things like this happen.
Five minutes into the show a loud coughing started. The younger girl sounded congested. I looked back at the child to see if she was okay. She looked pale and sick.The girls were sitting together, in the center, between their mother and grandmother. Both women were completely engrossed in the show.
What kind of parents take their sick child to a night time Broadway show? I don’t have children but I remember myself being sick as a child. I remember that I wanted to stay home. I wanted to snuggle. I wanted to sleep. I wanted my back to be scratched. At home. In my bed. But what do I know, right?
So I tried to focus on the show and tune out the loud and sickly coughing. I tried to pretend that everything was just peachy.
By the time the girl was ready to pass out from what sounded like an air shortage in her lungs, the grandmother came out of a Wicked coma, and asked in a loud whisper:
Are you ok?
You gotta be kidding me, I thought. The hell she is okay, I wanted to scream. The whole theatre can hear that she is not okay!!! However, I refrained from screaming, or whispering, or saying anything for that matter.
The girl said in a coarse voice that she was fine, and kept on coughing. I kept on concentrating on Wicked.
After the intermission, the cough subsided. Maybe the little girl got a cough drop from her mother, maybe she coughed everything out. Who knows! We all started to breath a little better.
Then a loud slurping started. Apparently, the older girl got herself a pink drink with a blue straw. She was sucking her drink louder than anyone on stage could sing. Amazingly, her mother and her grandmother were back into their Wicked coma.
What’s the point of this post?
The point of my Wicked story is very sad: neither Beaker, nor I, nor the other people in the theatre said anything to the parents. We did not stand up for ourselves. This, to this day, still baffles me.
When I tell this story to people, everyone points out that we should have said something to the parents. For example, we should have asked them to take the kids out of the theatre.
The argument is always made that we spent $300 on our tickets, and we should have gotten our money’s worth. This makes me feel even worse because I agree with it. We should have said something.