Saturday, 22 October 2016

Trauma in the New Theatre in Chalon

The new theatre, in the dark depths of an industrial zone
After a summer chock-a-block full of concerts we were entering autumn, winter and spring with only two concerts in view. The first one was last week - a Fado singer in Chalon.

I am not a fan of Fado, but Cees is, so we bought tickets. As we were on our way through Chazelle, I had a sudden light bulb moment and remembered that the theatre, where all the concerts are normally given, was closing down for a two year renovation as of September – so where the heck was our concert going to be? An emergency three point turn followed by a racing start and screeching halt at La Tuilerie, to check out the theatre website. Of course both of us had switched off our computers (bloomin’ energy saving ideas) and so our departure was somewhat delayed. Good job I did think of it in time, as the new theatre is completely on the other side of town and not at all where I thought it was even when I had remembered it had moved – if you get my drift.

Inflated tarpaulin 
No problem, we are chronically early for everything (too long in The Netherlands) so we were on time for the concert. People were going into the auditorium when Cess handed over our electronic tickets that he had printed out, no cheery beep for us from Ticketman’s scanner we got a blurp – tickets not valid! What?? Ticketman then looked at the tickets and said “these are for an orchestra in May”. Oh no…. someone had brought the wrong tickets with him. There was no way we could get home in time to get the right tickets and still see the concert – “what a pity” I was secretly thinking. Ticketman suggested we talked to Ticketlady, maybe something could be done.

Rplacement ticket
Ticketlady smiled when we told her our story and said “Quelle catastrophe !” and then tick, tick, tick on the computer, we were found and real cardboard tickets were printed out for us. Phew – “this concert had better be worth the hassle” I was thinking by then.

The new temporary theatre is a wooden base structure with an enormous red tarpaulin over it which seems to be inflated by a massive ventilation system. Inside there are 18 rows of 32  seats seemingly sloping up to the sky. When we got to our seats in row O, I felt like we had climbed half way up Mount Everest, but we had an impressive, towering view of the stage. My only concern was the lack of emergency exits. There were two for roughly 600 theatre goers and both of those were meters below us at row A. With only two narrow, steep staircases to get everyone down and out, I wasn’t sure what would happen in an emergency.

Gisela dances an encore, high heels gone,
time to seriously get dancing
The concert however, was fantastic. The singer (Gisela Joao) was quite superb and the musicians were even better. Gisela didn’t only sing Fado but she sang jolly, dancey songs and she was so enthusiastic about the songs that she jumped and danced all over the stage like a little girl. She insisted on trying to translate the words of each song, but her vocabulary let her down somewhat, so the Portuguese speakers in the audience had to shout out the missing words every so often. All in all she charmed the whole audience and her rendition of La Vie en Rose brought the house down.

It was great evening out, it was certainly worth the price of the tickets, the hassle of finding the place and the trauma of having the wrong paperwork with us, but I’m still not too sure about the safety of the theatre itself. I am hoping our seats for the next concert are a bit nearer the exits.

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