Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A night at the opera

The Park Theatre was housed in a modern yet modest building crammed in between a bank and a bistro in the main street of Salting by Sea.

Despite its size it managed to attract more than its fair share of travelling productions. Plays, concerts and recitals featured week and in week out, and although its seats were rarely filled it did have a loyal and appreciative audience.
It was the second Saturday in June and every seat in the theatre had been sold. In fact there had been something of a rush on the tickets. After all, it was not every week that Salting by Sea played host to a visiting opera company from Prague. For one night only Bizet’s opera Carmen was to be performed to an eager and excited capacity crowd.

The burble of voices was suddenly hushed as the orchestra filed in and took their seats, followed by their conductor who turned to the audience and beamed as the auditorium was filled with the sound of applause. After the playing of the overture, the velvet curtains swept back and the scene was set for an evening of music and song.
In the basement of the bank next door, three men crouched beside metal door which stood between them and a safe. They had planned this evening several weeks ago, and so far their plan had come together like clockwork. Gaining entry had been simpler than expected, partly due to the help of a bank employee who had come on board with the promise of a healthy reward and anonymity
The audience was spellbound as one by one their favourite choruses and arias played out before them. In what seemed no time at all the first half came to an end and the audience roared and clapped as the music died down.

It was time to make their first move. The applause from the crowd in the theatre drowned the dull thud of the explosion, and the door flew backwards off its hinges. Another part of operation was completed and now they had to patiently wait amongst the rubble and the dust for a while longer.
An hour or so later the opera was reaching its climax. The audience held its breath as the voice of the soloist climbed higher and higher....
In the bank vault one of the men held a drill, its bit positioned in the lock of the safe. They listened as the soprano sang, and at the precise moment she reached her highest note, they pressed the drill into action, its high pitched screech indiscernible to the outside world.
The evening had been a triumph. The audience spilt out onto the street, the music still ringing in its ears. The men from the bank made a discreet exit and melted away into the darkness.
To hear Habanera from Carmen click on arrow.

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  1. That's brilliant. I hope you don't have any bank robbers reading your blog - they'll start scanning the theatre listings.

  2. I think you have a good idea here. I'd kind of like to see more about what happened. Who are these guys? What's there motivation? It might be neat to see some conflict too.

    My favorite line was "They listened as the soprano sang, and at the precise moment she reached her highest note, they pressed the drill into action, its high pitched screech indiscernible to the outside world."

  3. I love stories about heists. The most intriguing thing aobut them to me is the relationship between the robbers and, like Ronda said, the motivation. I felt like I could really see the action in your writing. I could picture both scenes. Bravo!

  4. A great story and fun premise. Reminded me of an old crime movie. I agree with Ronda in that I would have liked them to run into some conflict to build suspense. Also (and I'm nitpicking here I admit) it takes a long time to drill into hardened steel. That took me out a little, but not enough to ruin the story. That aside I really like the way the piece came to a crescendo both at the opera and in the bank. A fun read.

  5. Thank you for all your comments. Friday Fiction suggests we write a story in not less than five minutes which is presented unedited and in its raw form. Had I spent more time going back over my text I might well have expanded the story, but I'm a good boy and went with the instuctions I received!!!

  6. Keith I so enjoyed reading this with earbuds in and music playing. I could imagine the music was playing and tried to pick the exact moment when I would have turned on the drill - great fun

  7. I enjoyed the music as I read your story. It brought it all together quite nicely.

  8. Keith!! welcome back - its been FAAAARRR too long.

    tight little story with some surprising elements. Great use of alternate perspectives, reflecting on one another.

    The five mins thing is simply to tell you not to edit for at least 5 mins....not that your piece is the product of 5 mins. giggle!!

    I am utilizing FF to experiment with genres and styles with writing. This week I visit the world of Dr Suess and realised quickly why no-one else is able to emulate his wit and charm through prose.