Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Special Day

Today was great. Totem invited us family members to come to Royal Albert Hall for a tour, and then to watch the matinee show. (the poor show had sales of less than 50% ... it's amazing how empty a room can feel with 2500 people in it!!)

The tour itself was pretty standard, mostly the same spiel we heard last year.... we went inside the Queen's box, and saw the royal entrance and the royal receiving room, and heard about how the Queen danced with Nelson Mandela, the only time the no-dancing-in-the-royal-box rule was ever broken. Although I had heard it before, there's no denying that the history of Royal Albert Hall is fascinating. Things like the loggia boxes, all privately owned, and the light above the queen's box to signal to the conductor when she is arriving, and the mushrooms on the ceiling that fix the acoustics, and the wild diversity of events that have taken place there. (Marathon, sumo wrestling, car shows, dances...) It's a place of incredible stories.

But even more fun for me was when Nastia pulled me out of the back of the tour group line, and we persuaded a guard to show us where the kids' schoolrooms were. We popped in on Baz and Ayla, interrupting their math class and feeling like we'd infiltrated the secret hideout!

More treats were in store. We had seats in a loggia box, and five moms & five kids piled into it, making our own little party room. Photos are strictly forbidden in all parts of Royal Albert Hall, so I snagged this off the Internet to show you what it looks like from a box seat. So cool!

At intermission, our Tour Services staffers brought us down to the netherworld of RAH, for a snack in the kitchen. Apparently there are five levels underground, and this is where all the dressing rooms, offices, and loading docks are located. So at last I got a glimpse of some of these places! It was a little awkward, we felt like foreigners walking around with our guide, but it was still comforting to see all of our artists and support staff and technicians doing their usual things.

Speaking of technicians, Baz and Ayla had an exciting story today... in school they were brought up to the grid, for a talk with Nick, the head rigger! He showed them all different kinds of pulley systems, and talked to them about different kinds of ropes and their uses. This is why I brought my kids on tour with Cirque du Soleil :)

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