It was a perfect summer evening. As part of a fundraiser, the Monarch Theatre was showing classic movies in the park. Bring a lawn chair, bring a donation, and re-live that drive-in experience. The initial response had been very encouraging.
This evening, it was the 1999 film of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Shown in the middle of a forest on a midsummer night, it was pretty much the perfect choice. The audience seemed to agree -- over a hundred people showed up, which was more than we had realistically expected. Perhaps the only thing that could have been better was the absence of those storm clouds in the distance. On the other hand, even though a few flashes of lightning were tracing the sky, but we were so far away that we couldn't hear the thunder. No problem. Besides, the lightning was behind the audience, so they didn't notice it.
I was content to let things proceed, even when the clouds got a little darker. There still wasn't any rain, right? Our manager was worried, though. Soon, she made the call. She rounded up the A/V guys, got them behind the stage, and then turned on the microphone to cancel the show.
And then, as soon as she told the audience, a gust of wind swept in and threw down the movie screen. The A/V crew was already there to help (and I was up there a second later), but the audience got the hint: they departed quickly, quietly, and in an orderly fashion.
Which was just as well, because a minute after the last car left the parking lot, some branches blew across the transformer behind the park, and shorted it out. Giant arcs of electricity, taller than the trees, shot out overhead, while their crackle and hum drowned out all conversation. Flames licked at their sides before they finally settled down, only two erupt twice again, before tripping a minor blackout in the city.
Next week, I think we're showing Back To The Future.