I had the great pleasure of watching Hugo at a fantastic little repertory theatre on Bloor Street, in Toronto, ON. I don't often go to repertory theatres anymore - my own town doesn't have any - but I grew up near one, and it was where I first saw most of the movies of my childhood. Boy, do I miss them.
I miss the small-ness of them. I miss the surprise that is discovering a movie that isn't in the maistream cinemas anymore, but is still wonderful. I miss being able to wait in a lobby and have a conversation without needing to yell. The Kingsway Theatre has all of those things.
We walked into the small lobby and around a central bar area that I didn't really pay attention to. We walked past some velvet ropes that seemed to mark where we might wait, if there were a line. And at one counter along the back, we were invited to pay for both our tickets and our refreshments: popcorn, candy, soda, and, incongruously, coffee. "You get your coffee back there at the bar," the ticket guy said. I turned around to re-examine the central bar area, and sure enough, there were the tanks, filled with medium roast and dark roast, and accompanied by three cartons of milk product of varying degrees of fat content. A 21st-century twist on the movie-going experience. "Okay," I said to the guy, "I'll have a small popcorn and a coffee."
The velvet roped area turned out to be a sort of holding cell for patrons who had paid for their ticket to wait in while the theatre emptied out after the last show. As I stood there, holding my steaming coffee and letting the scent of movie-theatre popcorn wash over me, I knew what I would find inside: row upon row of velvet upholstered seats bolted to a very gently raked floor, a screen in the front of the room playing crackly shorts from the early days of film, and the quiet anticipation of eager children out for a special afternoon.
It had been a long time since I'd been to a repertory theatre, but I plan to go back. Because nothing says "movies" like coffee and popcorn.
What's your favorite repertory theatre experience?