LUCY BUTTERFIELD is a loner.
It seems I have fewer friends than I originally thought. Try as I might to conjure up a theatre companion last week, my efforts were futile.
“Worry not!” I thought to myself. “I happen to know the director. I happen to be MARRIED to the director! I shall sit with him and look smugly well-connected for the entire performance.”
He had to sit in the lighting box that night.
Going to the theatre on one’s own shouldn’t be a big deal. Why shouldn’t I immerse myself in a bit of Cam culture on my onesie? Nonetheless, I felt rather forlorn as I purchased my lone ticket.
In the midst of my paranoia, I imagine the people behind the desk picturing the lasagne for one I ate for dinner, accompanied by a side order of social isolation.
I battle on through to the auditorium and take a seat near the front in a relatively empty theatre. As the rest of the audience file in, I notice people are uncertain about sitting near me.
Perhaps they think I’m about to be joined by some incredibly good-looking thespy boyfriend (I’m not). Maybe they think my unpopularity is contagious, like the plague or chlamydia.
I remain alone on row B. B for Billy-no-mates.
The main advantage of this lies in my freedom to eavesdrop on everyone else whilst stewing in my own bitterness. A gaggle of girls behind me abandoned themselves to paroxysms of excitement over the free A5 programme we’d been handed.
“OHEMGEEEE!!” one of them exclaimed. “Is that, like, her NAME on it?”
“Maybs! Deffs maybs!” cried another.
The play is fantastic thank goodness, and I am transported from my well of loneliness for a blessed 45 minutes. But inevitably, it ends.
The house lights come up and I’m still riding solo. I resort to sauntering out, attempting to exude panache, flair and nonchalance. The bar is filling up, but I daren’t enter. The hubbub of chatter and the bright lights unnerve me.
I have turned into Gollum.
Walking home, I appraise my evening and find a renewed sense of indignation. Essentially, I’ve just seen a great play for a fiver. So what if I went on my own? Me, myself and I enjoyed it all the same.