When did I get to be old enough to nod off during a performance in the theatre?
The scraper and I went to see Michael Frayn's comedy "Alphabetical Order". The play is a two acter about a chaotic newspaper library which is transformed into a place of almost painful order; the play finishes with the announcement that the newspaper is about to fold and the staff deciding to attempt a take-over.
Michael Frayn is a very funny and clever playwright, humourist and novelist; his columns for the Guardian were highly amusing and satirical. He has also written serious plays; "Copenhagen" was a fascinating work.
"Alphabetical Order" was one of his early efforts, probably far more relevant to the time it was written, after all, newspaper libraries and paper archives no longer exist. One click of a key will conjure up all the information you might be after. Still, the script is sharp, fast-paced, clever and funny enough to chuckle along.
So really, I have no excuse for what happened. Except, except......
This was an afternoon performance, after a generous lunch and a glass of wine (always a risky thing for me, drinking wine with lunch) and instead of the expectant buzz that comes from an audience which is alert and looking forward to an evening's entertainment, this was more of a coach party outing, with an elderly audience, people who might be ready for a snooze after lunch on an ordinary day ( like me), creating a soporific atmosphere rather than an electrifying one.
So there I was, gently nodding off about half way into the first act - the sort of nodding off where you can still hear everything that is being said, albeit from a great distance, but the words don't really make sense and, actually, you'd prefer them to stop and let you sink into a peaceful slumber for just a little while.
I woke up with a start when the scraper laughed out loud; I sneaked a guilty look at the occupant of the seat on my other side: had she noticed my disgrace? Far from it; the lady's head had sunk on to her chest and she was breathing softly and regularly, giving a little puff at the end of each breath.