“You’re late!” hissed Dianne under her breath as John entered the balcony, kissed her on the cheek and sat down next to her.
The curtains opened, the theatre darkened and the crowd’s murmurs silenced. A trembling whisper of harps and trumpets began to stir inside the musicians’ pit. For a moment, the audience listened intently at the rumor of a melody. But soon the orchestra exploded and the music invaded the theatre. Increasingly, the stage became illuminated and the outlines of actors and actresses began to appear, followed by bulky set-props of lamps and mills, finalizing with painted backgrounds of perfect trees under a starry night.
“Sorry, I had to grab a bite to eat, I was starving,” John whispered into Dianne’s ear. “Did you know there is a Maccino’s sandwich place around the corner? I tell you, that man really makes the best…”
“Could you please be quiet,” interrupted Emily –Dianne’s heavily disproportionate cousin–, turning around from the row underneath.
“Yes… Sorry Emily,” John said with a straight face.
As Emily turned back to face the play, John looked to his left, snatched Dianne’s stare, and made a mockingly Emily-like grimace. Dianne couldn’t resist the comical look and let a quiet laugh slip through her lips, rapidly pulling her gloved hand to cover her smiling mouth.
The performers’ voices overflowed the theatre. It was a tragedy, and the music played accordingly to the undulations of the story. There were bangs and clatters, and bongs and shatters, as the dark, evil powers unfolded into the plot.
“You know who I ran into?” John whispered very quietly to Dave –his brother–, who sat at his right. Dave looked back at him with curiosity, and mouthed who? After a few seconds, John added “Julianne.”
“Really?” Dave said. “How does she look?”
“In-cre-di-ble,” John said, pronouncing each syllable separately. “She must have lost like thirty pounds.”
“Get out! Really?” Dave said without whispering.
“Will you two please shut up!” cried Emily, turning back again, placing her index finger angrily in front of her mouth.
John and Dave nodded at Emily who turned around annoyingly. Then they exchanged excited glances agreeing on talking about Julianne during the upcoming intermission.
A soothing violin captivated the audience as the lavishing, white dressed maiden appeared. All the women stared at her in admiration, amazed by the girl’s beauty and intoxicating voice. All the men stared at her in suffocating desire, fixating their eyes in her slim figure and the manner in which she danced and twirled in the adapted ball room of the theatre stage. As the dance developed and the men bounced around her, her figure was singled out by a godlike ray of light from the floodlights in the high ceilings. And for a time she danced alone; all the men escaped from her frightening beauty. But not for long she remained by herself. Soon after, a handsome gold-hatted man appeared, took her in his arms, and very slowly approached her lips. It was then that the music began to fade into silence and the curtains dropped.
A thunderous applause spirited away the play into the intermission. John and Dave immediately stood up and went outside to the bar. Dianne and Claire –Dave’s ignored date and Dianne’s half-sister– looked at each other in helpless affection and followed them.