She liked to visit the theatre. The Adventure Theatre. She liked to lose herself in the drama and the action.
Sometimes she laughed. Sometimes she cried. Sometimes she felt tense, sometimes totally relaxed and entertained. Comedy, tragedy, heroism, darkness, drama, frivolity, beauty and ugliness, great highs and terrible lows. All could be experienced from the safety of her velvet covered seat as she sat in darkness surrounded by hundreds of others, all feeling similar emotions as they shared the spectacle.
Each new play was unique. She never felt exactly the same twice, but when she walked through the door, she always knew she was going to be moved. She always knew she would leave a changed person.
In the year of her 30th birthday another theatre was built just a few yards from The Adventure. It was launched on the back of a radical new concept and the name The Control Theatre was proudly displayed in huge red letters above the entrance. Outside stood a slick good-looking man in a sharp dress suit. He displayed a permanent smile which if viewed for any length of time left one feeling quite uneasy.
Regular visitors to The Adventure had to pass The Control Theatre on their way to its entrance, and as they did so, the man encouraged them to allow him to explain what the new theatre had to offer. One day it was her turn to be approached and her natural curiosity led her to stop and listen to Mister Slick's sales pitch.
He told her of the theatre's radical new concept. Tickets were expensive, but for a reason. She could decide how the play was going to go. The cast was completely at her disposal. She could either decide the story in great detail or if she preferred, just give a basic outline which the actors would improvise within. Either way, the play would be performed just how she decided. She would be getting just what she wanted. What could be better than this? Her very own play, under her control, performed just for her. Skilled actors helping her to feel any emotion she wanted to feel on demand.
It was expensive but the skilled salesmen made it sound overwhelmingly exciting and she was sure it would be worth it. She decided to sign up. But unlike a normal theatre, she could not go straight in to view the show. She had to give a description of what she wanted and then come back in a few weeks. This gave the cast a chance to put the play together, to rehearse and hone their craft.
As the weeks passed, she continued to visit The Adventure Theatre, but the excitement was building up inside her and she found it hard to get lost in the action as she normally did. Her mind was elsewhere. She could not wait for the night that her very own play would be ready.
Eventually that evening came. With great excitement, she took her place alone in front of the stage, eagerly awaiting the first act. For an hour and a half the actors acted their hearts out, doing their very best to be true to her vision. But at the end of this time her excitement had been replaced by an uncomfortable disappointment and a feeling that somehow she had been cheated.
That night she was a different person than she had been when she had written the play's outline and the things she had wanted then, she did not want now. Although she had tried to make her play beautiful and exciting, the emotions that the actors did their best to bring out of her seemed strangely empty because of their predictabilty. Missing were the breathtaking surprises, the twists in the tale and the wonderful feeling of sharing common emotion in the midst of a crowd of her fellow theatre-goers.
She had learned a very expensive lesson, and knew that she would never be visiting The Control Theatre again. The next week she returned to The Adventure, where a brand new show was starting its run. Having tasted control, she now savoured the experience all the more. Once more she found herself totally lost in the unfolding story.
But The Control Theatre carried on with great success. The slick salesman was always able to pick out someone new and to persuade them to part with their money. To those who had not had the taste of control, no-one could make it sound so appealing as he could.
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