They’re at it again. A thumping piano and a swelling chorus of voices punctuated by an intermittent baritone. For several months now there have been daily rehearsals. When the roller door at the back of their warehouse is open an operatic soundscape fills our street.
It’s kind of annoying.
Since we moved here the theatre company next door had been conspicuously quiet. In fact, there was a time when I wondered if they were still operating. The occasional truck would pull up at the roller door and unload materials, the door would close and that was the end of it. I was watching a lot of Breaking Bad and quietly suspected they were cooking meth.
Then last year during one or other of the relentless festivals hosted by our determinedly cultural city, the roller doors of both the warehouse next door and one recently vacated across the road became a hive of 24hour set building activity.
The sound of nail guns and power saws rent the air while paint fumes permeated every open window. Fortunately it ended as emphatically as it began and several weeks later the last of whatever they had been constructing vanished into the night.
But now they are back with a vengeance. With rehearsals for what I can only assume to be something Wagnerian in scale laboring throughout the day and set construction literally banging on into the night, my occasional good humour has been sorely tested.
One night last week spouse and I were a little fractious – his excuse was plain exhaustion due to overwork while, unsurprisingly to anyone who has been following my blog, this is my natural state. The sounds from next door were amplified by a particularly still night.
In what can only be considered a stroke of pure genius, I decided to inculcate my husband into the undeniable thrall of Game of Thrones.
Stay with me here.
On the eve of season three commencing it was imperative to hook him as quickly as possible, so we’d been watching back-to-back episodes. Far from being a cerebral psychological thriller filled with ominous silences and whispered threats, Game Of Thrones is a riot of noise. A veritable wall of sound accompanies the visceral images of blood, guts and, for the romantics, frequent nudity.
Brilliantly, the clanging of sheet metal from the theatre crew melded seamlessly into a tournament at King’s Landing. The mezzo-soprano’s trilling aria overlaid perfectly into the frequent scenes of torture and when the chorus really wound up a Northern battle could absorb them completely.
couldn’t prevent the siren call of bedtime. Lulled into a false sense of security by a fleeting tea break, it wasn’t long before our ears were once again assailed by the neighbour’s nocturnal industry.
Spouse wandered down and had a quiet word. Apparently they were nearly done. An hour later and sheer fatigue had claimed him. Snoring like a freight train beside me I contemplated the various ways I could deal with the resultant stereo noise pollution.
They all involved blunt instruments.
Instead I waited until nigh on midnight to leap from the bed and fling on an odd assortment of layered black clothing. I snatched up my keys and an umbrella and strode outside. Ducking under the half opened roller door I stormed into the open space and confronted my operatic tormenters.
“So I’m guessing you’re all working to some kind of performance deadline here?” I said, my voice a little higher than usual.
Two women kneeling with paintbrushes in hand looked up at me blankly.
“A fairly elastic deadline wouldn’t you say, given you have been doing this for WEEKS?” My voice has risen further and I gesticulated more than was strictly necessary for emphasis.
“You do understand this is a residential area and most of us have to get up and actually work in the morning?” I was snarky now.
A heavily bearded man on a ladder punctuated my sentence with some spirited hammering.
“Look, don’t get me wrong. I love the theatre, I really do. Did a stint of amateur stuff myself way back…
(Oh god, this is going to get her blogging about the lost thespian opportunities of her youth, spare us! See how I can jump straight into your thoughts? Prepare yourselves)
…and I understand the processes, but seriously, this can’t possibly wait until morning?”
Even though an attempt at a placatory tack may have lost some of its empathy here due to my gritted teeth delivery, by now it was obvious none of these smarmy creative types gave a toss about neighbourhood peace.
Wrapping my black micro modal layers about myself I stood before them like a Guard of the Night’s Watch and leveled a gimlet eye, “Right then,” I fumed ominously, brandishing my umbrella like valerian steel, “ in three minutes it will be midnight and it will be time to wrap up this gesamtkunstwerk for the day. Ja?”
Seven people nodded uncertainly at me.
“Ok then. Good. Yes, well thanks for that and good luck with everything”. I walked back towards the door.
“I’m sure it will be a truly stunning production…eventually. Chookas! ( I told you I’d dabbled in the theatre)”
I popped my head back in from outside and catching the eye of beardy on the ladder called out, “Break a leg!” He had the good sense to look anxious.
Three minutes later the roller door shut and several cars accelerated into the night.
“Where were you?” muttered spouse half asleep.
“Just chatting with the neighbours. Go back to sleep.”