Ford’s Theater, Washington, D.C.December 1, 2011
This week I’m in Washington, D.C. for a conference for work. I haven’t visited this city since I was a teenager. It’s very, very different from what I remember, and yet, the same. I haven’t had a lot of time to do much sight-seeing, but tonight I went to a play at Ford’s Theater.
I had noticed the flags on the light poles advertising A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theater yesterday when I was looking for a place to eat. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but then today, as I was considering what I wanted to see while I’m here, I remembered the advertisement. So, I got online and found that there was one ticket on the first row of the balcony. It seemed like a good seat, so I bought it.
Washington is a great walking city. It’s a grid layout that is very easy to follow. Walking the 7 blocks to the theater proved to be a great walk in the crisp evening. I found a little sandwich shop with a heart toward helping the hungry and ate there. The bar where I sat faced the street, so I watched as people passed by talking, running, walking their dogs, catching the bus, and going about their lives. Such a cross section of people: older, younger, middle aged and many nationalities.
Once I finished, I walked the two more blocks to the theater. I picked up my ticket from will call, and moved into the body of the theater. Just inside the door, is a bust of Lincoln’s face done when he was about 51 years old. Cast before he was elected president, you couldn’t mistake who’s face it was. Casts of his hands had also been done, and one showed the wear of shaking hands on the campaign trail through obvious swelling that made it just a little bigger than the other one.
The theater is much small than I expected. I thought it would be around the same size as our Ryman in Nashville. But, I’d say it’s about half that size. It’s very intimate. I made my way up the narrow winding stairs to the balcony, and then was shown to my seat. As I moved toward it, I realized it was 4 seats from the box where Lincoln was killed. I sat right on the railing and had a bird’s eye view of the stage and everything going on.
At the intermission, I engaged the woman sitting to my left in conversation. She and her husband lived in Nashville 30 some odd years ago, and her daughter was born there. They’ve lived in Florida the rest of the time, but it was amazing to find that I wound up sitting by someone who once lived in my town. I knew the street they had lived on, and we talked briefly about some of the changes around that area.
The play was so very well done, and I enjoyed it greatly. The experience of sitting in that theater watching a play is something I’ll more than likely never do again, but it was worth it. I hope I get back there before I leave with my camera to take some better pictures, and to go through the museum. If I don’t, that’s ok. Having the experience is better than having the pictures.