A Live Concert on my Lap

I’ve written before about the little pleasant surprises that you would never expect from a pandemic. I won’t name them all again that I’ve noticed, but here’s one that came out of the blue for me. I read about it in a column by Michael Grossberg in The Columbus Dispatch.

Saturday night, I listened to the live streaming of a musical produced by the bright and talented vocalists at Otterbein University. I always love going to their musicals , most of which I had heard of or seen before. But “The Theory of Relativity” didn’t sound like a musical to me. Still, I was ready to give it a try, simply because it would be so easy.

I did not have to find someone to go with or to drive me there. I didn’t have to sit alone in an audience full of couples and friends enjoying the show together. I could call the box office and talk to a real person instead of having to deal with a complicated website. And the ticket was inexpensive.

I had participated in many Zoom meetings and webinars, so I was puzzled why the young woman on the phone, Elizabeth, suggested I log on as early as 7:00, even though the show didn’t start until 8:00. She explained that some people have trouble logging on, so I should feel to call her any time after 7:00, because she would be there. Well, I wasn’t going to log in that early, because I might need to do something on my computer during that hour, but I did start the process at about 7:30. I clicked on the link, but I wasn’t sure if I had to do something else, like enter the password, because my screen reader didn’t read anything to me. At 8:00, and the show hadn’t started, I called Elizabeth , and she said the show had indeed started, but she would send me another link and talk me through logging in. With her patient help and my little bit of experience, I suddenly heard music, and I was not only relieved but thrilled. I was getting to hear the clever lyrics and talented voices I had been anticipating all day. It was like I was right there in the theater, only without the thunderous applause and cheering at the end of each song. But I was comfortable in my nightgown and robe, with my dog by my side on the couch, and a cocktail in my hand. What a way to enjoy a live production by my favorite theater company.

Immediately afterward, because Elizabeth had said she would be available all evening, I sent her a note saying how much I appreciated her help and how much I enjoyed the show. I know I missed a lot without audio description, but the next step is to figure out how they can do that. Until they do, I have a very non technical solution. They could just send the link to a trained describer, who could call me on the phone, and whenever she needed to describe an action, a costume, or the set, she could tell me. So the next time they have a show, and I hear about it in time, I’ll tell them about my brilliant and simple idea. I didn’t mind not having audio description this time, but from now on, it should be quite doable.

If you love musicals as much as I do, I hope you’ll take advantage of this easy way to enjoy a show. Just think. No sold-out messages and no parking hassles. No long walks from the car, and no body tall in front of you, unless it’s your dog in your lap.

Mary Hiland

Author of

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir

And

Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available at www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland

www.seeingitmyway.com

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