A “Faust”-ian bargain: A Tragicomic Half-Screw at the Opera

Ahh, back in time for Walpurgisnacht...

Ahh, back in time for Walpurgisnacht…

I went to the Minnesota Opera’s production of Gounod’s “Faust” at the Ordway Theatre this spring, and it delivered all it promised: Gothic effusions in French, hellfire, emotions stylized into hyperinflation. Is it sexy? Perhaps, yes, in the sense that sex dwells in the convolutions of the mind and sometimes flourishes best at earth-shattering volume.

But reader, my desires were brought satisfyingly down to earth on that day. Well, not with absolute satisfaction. A war was fought, but only a battle half-won. We’ll get to the details…

I went alone, and was fortunate to have a free ticket from a friend at a local law firm. Let it be known that this production has two intermissions dividing three acts, which itself sounds like the schema of a night of heavy frigging: the initial burst of vigor, the interlude with water and refreshments, the second round, then the languid sated fatigue spent arm-in-arm, and the third round where any final drops are squeezed from the proverbial lemon.

At the opera, I got to stage one of stage one, which is sometimes good enough.

I was drinking a Bombay Sapphire martini from a paper cup (quelle horreur!!) during the first intermission when a man about my age approached me. I was reading a copy of Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage” in French to pass to the time, so he recognized me as a fellow Francophone. Indeed, he did look French, half-Serge Gainsbourg and half-Vincent Cassell, which essentially represent two sides of the same Gallic beast.

He was a systems engineer from Lille. We spoke for a while, snickered about “Bienvenue Chez T’chis,” the cheesy French blockbuster film that lampoons his home region, and became immediately and disturbingly close, finally embracing and overlooking the barren park outside, lost in the numbing glow of conversation and gin.

The crowd was reentering the theatre and he whispered, eyelids raised capriciously, “To the bathroom?” I responded, “Well yes, my bladder is partly full,” and he restated his objective. “No, to the bathroom.”

The language of physical love is sometimes encoded. I followed him into the men’s restroom, where we began to kiss frantically, barring the door to the now-empty Water Closet. He boyishly pawed my breasts and derriere as if he had spotted a hydrogen bomb in free-fall and I welcomed the attentions, which were slowed by my full regalia of undergarments; I was not pre-stripped for an encounter, naturally.

He indecorously inserted a single finger into my honey jar. Upon the digit’s entry I felt a glorious boggy slosh to mirror the tympani shaking the wall. I was admittedly sodden, but his sloppy motions were too undisciplined to bring me to any sort of transcendent peak: Ahh, the French lover full of urgency and machismo, unattuned to the feminine mystique.

We kissed on and I stroked his erection to both caress his ego and return a mild tribute for his new attentions to my most sensitive quarters, which tingled intensely, if not orgasmically. As a vrai Frenchman, he was wearing navy blue polyester bikini briefs, which I snapped readily to the side.

By then, a furious knock sounded, as if the Fire Brigade had arrived. I quickly zipped up and retreated into a stall, perched on the throne as my consort unlocked the door, admitted an urgent usher and, to my surprise, vanished into the theatre, his seat unknown.

I watched the last act alone, still tingling and mildly soaked, watching witches writhe on a mountaintop in a Walpurgis Night orgy. There was some mild frottage in the midst of the dance, and I felt just as amused and unconsummated as the performers onstage.

Ah, my hasty Vincent/Serge hybrid…please write! Perhaps your fingers are more skilled on the keyboard of a Dell laptop.



sylvialowry1 (at) gmail.com

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