The Art Of Timing

El Relojero de los Suenos by Habemus Teatro
Theatre Tent, Teguise, 9th July 2023

Two matches down in the Test series, the third test, at Headingly, therefore represented England’s last chance of keeping alive the possibility of a series win. Needing 250 for victory on the final day, (Sunday 9th July) required England to win the war of attrition that cricket was always intended to be. Watching such nail-biting days can leave a cricket fan living on his nerves. The Aussie bowlers peppered us with high, fast bowling and the England batsmen had to defend for their lives whilst keeping mindful of the need to score the 250 runs to win the match. It was painful to watch and as the first eight wickets fell at regular intervals all hope diminished. There had been very few of the Bazball bish, biff, bosh shots spectators have so enjoyed in recent years, but somehow the score kept crawling along faster than it actually felt to be. This was important to me which is why I was so ensconced in front of my tv, having gone into the lounge at 11.00 am, and having told my wife we would leave at 4.00 pm for the concert we wanted to see in Teguise. At 3.45 there was very little chance of that happening. Down to our tail end batsmen we were still some thirty odd runs behind, but then bish, biff, bosh, simple as that the match finished in victory for England! 3.50 pm,….a dash out of the lounge and into the bathroom, a rapid shave that still left me with a Ben Stokes-like stubble, but grey not ginger, a quick shower of the kind that had made the Headingley wicket less than trustworthy over five days, I put my kit on, relieved I didn’t need my pads, and grabbed my wife and we took a quick single up to where our car was parked. We then arrived in Teguise at dead on 5.00 pm and realised that what we thought was a free to all event was actually free only to those who had invitational tickets. Nevertheless the guy on the door let us in, and we took our seats to see a performance for children, (yeh, I know) called El Rolojer de los Suenos and performed by Habemus Teatro. Fittingly, on a day like this had been, we were to watch a live musical about the art of timing!

There was an audience of around 298 Indigenous grand-parents, mums and dads, a handful of teenagers and countless pre-teen brothers and sisters and toddlers and babies…, and we two seventy year olds with a forty odd year old son, and his wife daughter living in South Korea, simply trying to look as if we belonged.

We need have had no fear. Everybody was chatting away to each other and coochy cooing at the other people´s children, right up until the cast took to a stage and set that artfully represented a clock-mender´s premises. In fact to say the cast took to the stage is something of an understatement: they actually burst onto the stage, in the form of a schoolteacher leading her young students through the song Doh Ray Me. This might have been aimed at the children in the audience but we oldies made a pretty good fist of it, too, channelling our favourite Julie Andrews, to deliver a powerful rendition.

The play lasted for sixty minutes, and although we could not understand a word of the Spanish we managed to get the gist of the narrative. One of the children in that class was the son of the old clock-mender, but the boy subsequently disappeared and was declared missing for many years. The clock-mender was distraught and as he worried and grieved over the years his skills diminished and his clocks and repairs no longer kept good time. He became plagued with nightmares about his missing son, and as the clocks become less and less reliable he loses all track of time. In a grey wig that made him look like a an aged Tom Conti, the grandfather, previously a jokey, genial character became grumpier and grumpier.

All things end happily in children’s musicals I guess, and the grandfather and son one were eventually reunited although it took a lot energy and mayhem to arrive at that point, as the small cast of around ten performers, ballet-danced. marched, shouted and sang with great enthusiasm and even greater aplomb. Choreography was in time, solo vocals were tuneful, ensemble vocals were powerful and some of the slap stick and theatre schtick of the cast was superb. A lot of punch lines drew laughter and chuckles from the Spanish folk.

This was a performance of the kind I used to be involved in when I was living in Rochdale in the UK before we moved here in 2015. Arts revenue-funded theatre groups would take plays like this touring around primary schools in our area, This was more elaborately staged, on this occasion, perhaps having a bigger budget available. However, its purpose was the same as those school visits in which I had taken part: to so engage the young children that they didn´t realise they were being taught. From tonight´s show there were ´lessons´ for various age groups. Children of reception class age were being taught the basics of telling the time, and later primary school ages were learning about more precise time-reading and some very valuable social awareness of loss and loneliness and of hope and faith.

All age groups seemed more than happy as we filed out of this tent that today had served as very serviceable theatre. The night was still young and the sun still high as most people strolled back to their nearby homes. We walked back to our parked car, near the children’s swings and slides and roundabouts. Children we had seen in theatre were now having the time of their lives as parents sat on surrounding benches and low walls keeping a watchful eye but having no need to worry. All the cast, twenty somethings or slightly younger, were in the playground, too, engaging with the children by discussing the play as they swung, slid or spun full circle on the apparatus.

We left them all to it, of course, but were delighted to have been made to feel welcome and included in the theatre.

Instead, on this clear blue sky evening, we drove the five miles or so down to the long and beautiful Famara beach with the incredible El Risco cliffs´ pointed, jagged horizons etched against the sky, their bodies painted golden by the evening sun. The drive back home through the vineyards and bodegas of La Geria was one we could really enjoy, being pretty much the only vehicle on the road. We actually turned off the LZ 2 and took the steep, long and winding road up to Femes: a road reaches to apex right into the centre of town just outside the church and immediately begins an even twistier and steeper descent into the opposite end of Playa Blanca to which we live.

We had taken this route, though, as it would lead us to The Marina Rubicon, where can be found a number of our favourite restaurants, including Lani’s Snack Bar, so self-deprecatingly named.

It more than serves as a restaurant and the scrambled eggs and salad dish I had was washed down with a pint and was followed by one of the establishment’s special ice cream desserts. Dee went for the Spanish Omelette with a glass or two of white wine. The place was busy and buzzing, and from our table we could see the sun setting over our house just at the foot of Montaña Roja.

We arrived back home, at twilight at 9.55 pm.

´Good night, love. I’ll just catch the Wimbledon highlights. See you in the morning´.

There you go,…..its all about the timing.!!

  • Agua Clara