lundi 24 octobre 2005

I'd title this "back to school", but I really have never left the academic world so I'm not really going "back".

Friday night, I went back to high school.

There was a very good reason, you see. My high school, my darling private all-girls school where I spent nine formative years, just had a new performing arts center built. And Friday night was the premiere production of some play in the brand-new sparkling building. So a couple of friends and I went, because we're supportive alumnae like that.

But before we went, we went to Souplantation for dinner! For those of you who don't have Souplantation, you have NO IDEA what you're missing out on. Normally I scorn buffets, but not Souplantation. We finally realised that we like it so much because it is an elevated form of the college cafeteria. Salads and soups and pastas and bread and FROZEN YOGURT, oh my! So many choices! Nothing spectacular, but all yummy in the way that frozen chicken pot pie from the market is yummy and satisfying.

Yeah, sorry this picture wasn't better arranged,
but we were all too excited and wanted to eat rightaway.

So we had Souplantation for dinner. We are nothing if not nostalgic. And then we went to our high school (which, truth be told, goes from elementary school through high school, and two of the three of us are "lifers", so I should just call it "school" instead of "high school" but whatever).

Now, when I say new performing arts centre, HOLY CHRIST do they have a new performing arts centre. I mean, this building is better and more professional than what many UNIVERSITIES, including my alma mater, have. The guy who designed it also did the lights installation at LAX - those weird random cylindrical towers you see when you're driving into/landing at LAX. I mean, this was a serious endeavour. If you've ever been on the UCLA campus, it falls right in between Royce Hall and the Freud Playhouse (which apparently gets no pictures).

Why, back in my day, all we had was a normal ol' boring stage, with no bells and whistles, and fold-out chairs for the audience. Back then, the performing arts centre was in what formerly used to be the school gym (obviously, we had a new gym). It was basically a large-ish empty room with a stage at one end. We did not have cushiony professional theatre seats arranged stadium-seating style. We didn't have anything so formal as a real box office. We did not have a separate theatre in the basement of the performing arts center that allows Mark Taper-style (ie, roundabout) performances along with an installation space for art exhibits.

We definitely did NOT have an orchestra pit. A real, honest-to-God, orchestra pit.

And of course, the play. The play was written by the head of the theatre department, attempting to depict the school through the 80-some years of its existence. It was a combination of song, dance, instrumental performance, and spoken word. The spoken word was the best - current students dressed up in uniforms of the past and gave monologues taken verbatim from old yearbooks. 5 alums came back to perform also, and there was much snickering on our part because we knew 4 of the 5 of them, and their bios in the program... well, induced lots of snickering. Very immature of us, given that our seats were three rows back and smack in the center.

But the most outrageous part of the performance was a dance number set to "No Diggity". Half of the dancers were dressed up as sleazy men, half as skanky dance-hall women, and while it was technically a very good performance, it involved CATCALLING and WHISTLING and SUGGESTIVE HAND GESTURES and did I mention that this is an ALL-GIRLS SCHOOL I went to? ALL GIRLS. I thought we were supposed to promote feminist ideals and other crap like that. Not to mention, at least when we were there, our school was definitely more on the conservative traditional side. The kind of place where they make you learn a string instrument in elementary school and Latin in junior high. The kind of place where the entire school is divided into two teams, the Greeks and the Romans, and the "initiations" involved much fanfare and school administrators dressed up in togas. There should be NONE of this sketchy suggestive dance stuff happening. NONE. It was SCANDALOUS.

What something like that dance had to do with the history of our school, I have no idea.

Look at the fancy schmancy desserts they had.
Too bad I didn't get a pic of the individual crème brûleés
served in hollowed-out limes.

After the requisite mingling with old teachers and administrators, we did what we never could legally do in high school: Got drunk (while reminiscing about how when we were there, the school was so much more wholesome and the uniforms way cuter. We also obviously made fun of the people we knew).

While high school was indeed a great fun time, I'm so happy that I'm not there anymore. But it's fun to go back and visit, even if doing so makes one feel incredibly old.