Monday, October 5, 2009

A Night at the Theatre

Going to a play was a much different affair than it is today. Without the simple convenience of nightly entertainment in the form of a television, the theatre was a one-stop shop for something to talk about for the rest of the month. So how would your night go?

The Afternoon-
Pick out your best outfit, do your hair, make sure makeup is immaculate. You only go to the theatre to be seen!

Around 5:00-6:00-
Arrive at the theatre of your choice. Mill about while the opening music plays. Check out who is the best dressed, make faces at those who are better dressed than yourself. See if your rival (political or otherwise) is there and make sure you act appropriately since all the papers will be talking about it tomorrow. Catch the eye of the woman or man you would like to become more intimate with. Is the royal family there tonight? Finally, when all those necessities are out of the way you can make your way to your box. Remember, this could be the most important part of your trip!

Bring on the Show!-
Of course, while you're in your box you should still be keeping your eye out for anything gossip-worthy. The play will begin, hopefully with the best and most fashionable actors of the time. In between acts there could be a comedy routine, singing, dancing, miming, juggling or acrobatics, and even a bit of a sideshow.

After the Play-
You aren't going home just yet! That is, unless you are a gent who has just caught the eye of one of the women working the playhouse! After the play, there is another event to stay in your seat for. Perhaps a little opera is on the menu or even a ballet. Your eyes should still be gracing over the crowd because some people show up just for the Afterpiece since it is half-priced.

The Exit-
By now you've been at the theatre for hours. It could be midnight or later. Perhaps it is time to go home or perhaps it's time for a card game or dinner with friends. After all, going to the theatre might just be the start to your night!


  1. My favourite bit of 18th cen. theatre gossip is still the spectacle of Mrs. Robinson publicly beating down her husband when he showed up in the Drury Lane balconies with a prostitute...these days we only see that kind of brawling at sporting events (well, and a few awards ceremonies, I suppose).

  2. Yes!! Oh he was such a complete looser too!

  3. You are humorous and informative as always :)

  4. I see that attending plays in London is no different than attending the opera here in Vienna. Except, however, if you are at the Freihaustheater just outside the western gate, where sausages and capon wings are tossed about and wine and beer slosh all over your new outfit!

    It is infinitely safer when I am conducting from my Klavier.

  5. You mean you, don't want your waistcoat to smell like sausage and beer for a good week? It saves you the hassle of those pesky perfumes and powder!