The news tonight is that there are rioters rioting in the streets of Minneapolis.
I go out to see for myself.

I see folks on the pavement and they look like they are having a riot but
they say to me they are dancers dancing not rioters rioting and I believe
them. One of them points out that the proof they are dancing is that
they are having a good time. If they were rioting, they wouldn’t be happy.

I have to confess to not having thought of that, that dancers are happy
while rioters are otherwise. That makes a lot of sense to me. Dancers do
tend to be happy, I can say with some certainty; I know this because
I too have done some dancing, but I really know little about rioting.

I go next to one of the ushers, a large man in a blue uniform. He’s wearing
a helmet. I figure he must work for the theatre. First thing, I ask if I need
a ticket. He, too, seems happy, because he bursts out laughing. He says
I must be joking. Don’t I know matinees are free?

This cheers me immensely. Had I known beforehand, I tell the usher, I could
have invited my girlfriend or even my parents. I notice then that the usher
is carrying a pistol. I’ve been in theatres around the world, in Tokyo, London,
even in Moscow, but I have never seen an usher carrying a loaded weapon.

When I see that, I decide not to ask for a program. I think I’d better look for
a seat. I wonder if the ushers are having trouble controlling the audience.
They are unruly. I see them setting fire to what I thought was part of the set.
My God, they have knocked an old man down and are kicking him in the head.

I start walking toward the sunken stage and public auditorium. It is crowded so I figure
that like the other folks I’ll have to stand. I want a seat in the orchestra but I notice
that there are really no bad seats. I already have a great view. I assume the man
on the ground is part of the show. I shout Bravo!

The dancers are clearly in the middle of a scene. I must have missed the opening.
They are shouting and swirling, kicking their legs and waving banners and posters.
One is burning the flag. I can’t quite make out what they are saying. I figure
they are doing some sort of medieval pageant, a festival, or perhaps even a wedding.

One thing I keep hearing is “it matters, it matters” (what matters?) and then
almost in unison I catch something like “can’t breathe.” I decide then that
I must be watching a modern version of Romeo and Juliet, which happens
to be a favorite.

It looks to have an almost entirely Afro-American cast, which
I think is a neat innovation. I like creative casting. I must have walked
in on the fight scene, because the actors are very excited.
Like me, they are having a ball and so, it seems, is the rest of the audience.

I can’t wait to read the reviews. The local paper used to have such a great theatre critic,
but now they employ a string of people who write about what’s called entertainment.
Movies, theater, Rock & Roll: it is all covered by the same people. They can no longer
tell one from the other. This is great public theatre but is it art? We shall see.

Image credit:Hasan Almasi

David Lohrey is from Memphis. He graduated from UC Berkeley. His plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania.  His poetry can be found in Otoliths, Tuck Magazine, and the Cardiff Journal. His fiction can be read in Storgy Magazine, Terror House, and Literally Stories. David’s newest collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published last year by Sudden Denouement Publications.