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A day in my life

Source: Adults

Author: Rhona Aitken

Title: The ballet comes to Beeching House

Beatrix Potter in Beeching House or The ballet comes to Beeching House

It seemed a good idea to show a ballet last week. We had shown several musicals, and the gathered occupants had loved them. “The Sound of Music” had been a great success. We had shown several documentaries recently as well. With the continual problems with hearing-aids, and a fair amount in some quarters of not quite knowing what is going on; plus the inevitable interruptions from the odd visits to the loo, and the search for someone’s glasses; the Cinema afternoon could end up being a trifle chaotic, and frequently did.

As a result - a busy story, with lots of conversation and twists does not go down well. A well-known musical is a delight, and interruptions don’t matter very much. Documentaries on elephants and tigers have been extremely popular and much loved. Penguins have been shown several times to huge delight. One afternoon I tried an experiment and we saw a ballet - “The Sleeping Beauty”. Quite a long ballet for this assembled audience to concentrate on, but to my amazement they were all riveted to the very end. Nobody needed moving. Nobody lost anything. Nobody spoke. It was a revelation. We have since watched “Coppelia” and last week the Ballet of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck etc. was shown.

Before it started I showed them pictures from the Peter Rabbit books full of the animals they would see. I started by reading ‘The Two Naughty Mice.’ How they marvelled at the Doll’s House!

After the ballet they were full of questions.
Said Gwen - “Were they all made of cellophane?”
“No Gwen - they are real people.
Were they very small children?”
“No - they were adults. The scenery is made bigger to fool you. Like the Doll‘s House.”
Dorothy said “was that a real frog?”
“No Dorothy - it’s a man dressed up as a frog.”
“Do you remember as a little girl - you liked dressing up as a princess - or Cinderella.
“Yes - but never a frog.”
“Well these are dancers on the stage - pretending to be animals. Aren’t they clever?”
“What was the hairy one - was it a lion?”
“No Dorothy. It was Mrs Tiggy-winkle. She’s a hedgehog.”
“An egg-pot?”
“No - a (very loudly!) hedgehog.”
“A wedge? What of?”
Irene - sitting next to her -”A hedge-hog Dorothy - an animal with bristles.”
“Is it whistling now? I can’t hear it.
Irene - “Its like a bristly dog - but this was one dressed up as a washer-woman.”
“Why? was she dirty?”
Irene - “Oh - did she look dirty.”
Dorothy - under her breath - “Well it sounds very strange to me. Edges don‘t have bristles and where‘s the dog?----- the rest was muttered!”
Gwen says “Would anyone like a peppermint?” They all say yes.
The Ballet had been a success. They had loved Jemima Puddle duck - especially when she laid an egg.. They were terribly worried when Squirrel Nutkin lost his tail.
A lot of reasoning does leave the elderly mind, but that wonderful gift of imagination can linger and give much delight.

Dorothy actually enjoyed it. She had never stayed awake throughout a whole film before.

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