by W.J Sherwood
Will and Jade go to see Wagner's Das Rheingold.
|“Hurry up Will, we’re going to be late!” my wife, Jade, called impatiently from the door.
“I am hurrying dear!” I muttered to myself, tying my shoe laces in earnest. Turning off the lights, I picked up my coat from the sofa and pulled it on as we hurried down the stairs - we couldn’t afford to keep a car so we sprinted.
As we rushed into the theatre, I surveyed the entrance hall like I always do. Can you remember those old mansions with the parallel staircases and the mosaic floors and grand portraits about ten feet tall? This is one of those. The hall was crowded with men in their suits and women in their dresses. The staff stood out amongst the sea of black and white with their constricting red jackets and cream shirts. Jade shone like a pearl amongst the coarse stones of the sea bed. Her simple dress was beautiful; an aesthetic, tropical sea green with a silver tint that the lights picked out. The crowd was being ushered into the auditorium just as we arrived; we produced our tickets and were shown to our seats. Directly in the middle, we were surrounded by the seething mass of black and white. We waited as the audience settled; the lights soon dimmed and smoke began to drift on from the sides.
The monotonous drone in the depths of the orchestra announced the Vorspiel. I was immediately rooted to my seat; entombed in imaginary solid cement. The music began to rise and fall, rise and fall until the curtains were thrust back and Woglinde began to sing. The waves of sound hit me with such naturalistic force that I felt myself uprooted and swept away by the power of the Rhine.
There I stayed, enraptured in complete awe.
I was emotionally exhausted when we exited. Jade, meanwhile was alive with passion and joy. We walked along the beach; the sea was quiet, and yet the waves rolled up and down the shore breaking the tranquillity. Happily, Jade began to reflect on the performance. I did too, but in a different way. ‘The Ring’ was forged from greed; the dwarf, Alberich, wanted the power the Ring gives its bearer. The curse he puts on it when the God, Wotan, forcefully takes it from him brings about the fate of all those who wield it. As we walked past the plains of pearly white sand I thought of us, how we were exhausting the world’s beauty. The human race had cursed itself. Some day, we would feel the sting of our own creation; just like Alberich. Jade and I were stuck there; the ‘Nothing’ surrounded us.
The next morning, I woke early, made myself coffee. I pulled back the curtain; saw a group of workers cordoning off an area of uneven road below with black and white tape. The cement mixer was sitting solitary with its back to me, rotating an eternity of our future corruption.