“You can sit wherever you like, so long as you don’t sit in the front row, and so long as there are two empty seats either side of you”, I was told in response to my question about where I could sit tonight. “Perfect”, I said, “That’s exactly how I like it when I’m attending live theatre”.

Yes, tonight I’ve been to see an actual play in an actual theatre, with an actual cast, and an actual audience.

Some of the cast of Neighbourhood Watch

“What play are you seeing, and what’s it about?”, a friend asked me on Messenger tonight. “I have no idea”, I told him, adding that I’d received an email for a live play, and bought the ticket on solely that basis.

The play at Sydney’s New Theatre in Newtown was called “Neighbourhood Watch”.

Without giving away too much, the play tells the story of two women, neighbours who develop a good friendship.

One is a young woman on the rebound of a relationship, and sharing a house with another young man, with the possibility of a relationship developing betwen the two of them.

The other is an older woman, a Hungarian refugee who has lived in Australia for many years, and who moved into the neighbourhood after the death of her husband.

The play goes back and foward between the contemporary situation, and her younger life in Hungary, with parralels between the stories of the two women.

Though it wasn’t a “life-changing” story or play for me, I enjoyed it very much.

As I watched the play, I kept thinking “I can see this being made into a film”. On returning home, I checked the Wikipedia entry for the playwright, and this confirmed she is currently adapting it for the screen.

Neighbourhood Watch at Sydney’s New Theatre

And it was GREAT to see some live theatre for the first time in several months.

There were several reminders about social distancing from the theatre staff, and, as I watched the play, thoughts about social distance between the actors kept going through the back of my mind.

“I’m sorry, there are too many people in the foyer”, we were told at intermission. “Some of you will need to go outside or back into the theatre”.

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