Monday, March 14, 2011

Bats in the Arena!

I don't know if you saw the clip on television of the bat who interrupted an NBA game in Houston the other night. It swooped over the court and then into the stands where it appeared to fly right into some poor lady's lap. Very funny, unless you happened to be that lady.

That reminded me of Hackmatack Theater in Maine, a summer theater in an old barn. The barn had been fixed up and was a lovely place to see a play or a musical on a summer evening. The only problem was that bats lived in the rafters and late in a quiet performance they would come out to fly around over the audience. You would hear gasps and then see people slowly sinking down into their seats as the bats swooped around overhead. It was very entertaining. Only during a loud musical, "Jesus Christ Superstar" for instance, did the bats fail to make an appearance.

When we lived in Maine we saw great amateur theater at Hackmatack, always got season tickets because we knew every performance would be worth attending. One night was especially electrifying when they performed "The Crucible," the play about the Salem witch trials. This is a dramatic play of course about a tragic miscarriage of justice in our history, and for much of the time the stage is almost dark except for one spotlight on one actress. The star actress the night we saw the play at one point was stage front in the spotlight when a bat came out to search for insects. We never knew if she saw the bat or not, but it kept flying around in circles which brought it ever closer to her; one would almost think its wings would brush her face.

As if we weren't already silenced by her monologue and the substance of the story, the bat had us all holding our breath. The actress never missed a beat. Hopefully she never knew the bat was there, but she stayed perfectly in character and delivered her monologue as though she were on a stage on Broadway.

We used to have bats here at our country house, outside thankfully, and we were happy to have them eating insects every evening. Then suddenly they disappeared. It wasn't for lack of food, that's for sure. I've read that the number of bats is on the decline because of a disease, so maybe that explains our loss, but I'd love to lure some bats to our property. The bugs love me - chemistry or something, I guess. Aren't I lucky? Don't ever move to the country if you attract bugs like I do!

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