The theater I went to last night almost didn't let me in, though. The boy at the counter told me they had to close the screening room because the AC had gone out, and it wasn't fit to sit in, and asked if I wanted a refund. I sadly said yes, and he went and got his manager. The boy had just turned away people asking to buy tickets, also. The manager came out and apologized, and scanned my QR code on my phone to print the tickets to start the refund process, and mentioned that there were only two screens in the theater that could stream the Fathom stuff.
Wait, I said. They were still going to show the DCI? I had a student in one of the corps, and I wanted to see them perform. He said they were, but they couldn't put the audience into the second, air-conditioned theater until 8:50, because there was another film in there already. But, you're still honoring the tickets? I can still see this? Yes, if I didn't mind the inconvenience. I did not mind at all. So, got my ticket and headed to the snack line.
I'd spoken loudly enough that the people who'd been turned away and had been off to the side talking about how they'd have to call their parents (teenagers), went back to the ticket window before the manager could walk away, and managed to purchase tickets as well. And then a group of adults got into line. I'm glad I spoke up about my desire to see the performance and asked clarifying questions. The boy at the counter had not been aware of the possibility, it seemed - it's a busy theater, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably wasn't aware of more than the basics of the situation.
The poor theater was under-staffed last night. There was only one person behind the snack counter, and he was running back and forth between the register and the back room to fill orders. He kept smiling, kept up his good humor, and everyone who was around me in line was very patient and kind with him. It's hard being the only person at a register when you can "just" stand and ring people up - the fact that he was making food, pouring drinks, checking stock, and ringing us all up? I hope the management was kind to him.
The screening room itself wasn't as bad as the ticket counter had made it seem. There was some air flow, so we weren't hot and sticky. It was a bit stuffy, but nowhere near the oven I'd been expecting. There were a ton of teenagers there, along with parents of people in the corps, band directors, etc. Most of the group was either a middle school or high school band, based on the snippets of conversation I heard. We were moved to the AC screening room between the first and second performances (I'll talk about those in a moment), which was a convenient time, because the feed itself had some issues and had stuck at that point. We all moved quickly to the new room, and everyone did the sensible thing of go as high as you can, or as far in as you can to the row you're on. There was an empty space next to a couple of teenage girls on the end of a row, and I asked if they were holding the seat. Nope! I plopped myself down just as the second corps began its performance.
As to the performances themselves, they were very fun! This is the first of the season, as I'd said before, so not everything about each program is finalized. They've been rehearsing for about a month now. My student who's in one of the corps left school as soon as seniors were done, and missed his own graduation for training. Some of the corps were in better shape than others. The cameras also had the unfortunate luck to focus in on some of the guard just as they missed catching their batons. The programs were diverse in tone and theme, and each one was a treat for both ears and eyes. I enjoyed the commentators, who, just like sports commentators, gave some background about each of the corps performing - their world class wins, their previous season's programs, changes in leadership among the adults (there's an age range for performers - I think it's 16-23, but don't quote me on that; I know there are 18 y.o. because that's how old my student is). Unlike sports commentators, they were quiet during the performances themselves, commentating on them only after the performance had finished. They spoke with directors before each corps performed, and got an "on-the-ground" perspective after from one of the corps members who was leaving the field.
In August, there's going to be another showing in the theaters, before the DCI finals. The top 15 corps' performances will be streamed to audiences, so they can see who the contenders are for the finals. The scoring is done by a panel of judges, and is kind of complicated - though the commentators kindly broke it down with overlay graphics for the movie-going audience. The corps my student is in came in 4th out of 6 - not bad for an opening volley, especially considering how tight most of the performances already are. I hope they make it to the top 15. If they do, I'll definitely go to the other showing. If not...I still might. I really enjoyed the routines I saw, and want to see how they evolve over the season.