Short fiction

The Windsor: A history through memory

Forgot all about this: I created this set of vignettes about the Winsdor Theatre at Brighton, near my home.

I think I’ll post these act by act, hope you like!

The Windsor: A history through memory

“We are the movies, and the movies are us.”

–          David Ansen

(ASIDE)

Everyone has experienced a moment where they reflected: “This could be in a movie.”  Films are snapshots of life, attempting to empathetically present emotions and situations that someone, somewhere has experienced. They don’t ask for much, save a few hours attention. Movies wish to convey moments – a life, a conversation, a love story, 15 minutes in a crowded room. This is a collection of such moments. These vignettes, snapshots, scenes, or whatever you wish to call them, are all linked to a beachside cinema, where the characters experienced a moment worth retelling. They all possess a cinematic quality, despite their ordinariness. But it is this distinct ‘everyday’ feeling that evokes empathy, and communicates the beautiful homely feeling of the theatre.

It has seen celebrities, school plays, dances and proposals, and has been a community member since 1925. This compilation aims to paint its colourful history through its patrons, with stories possessing certain universality – observations and actions possible at any time or place, however here they are interconnected. This is the reason for use of active present tense, and anonymous ‘he’s or ‘she’s – readers are invited to imagine themselves in the scene, and apply their own memories. Anonymous players, save for the fictional memoirs of Mrs. Whitlam (who regularly visited the cinema during the early seventies), and Peter, the manager. While regulars have come and gone over the years, Peter has remained, a jack of all trades and beacon of reliability, and his insights are especially interesting. If The Windsor could speak, these are the stories it would tell.

FADE OUT

Act I, Scene I

1927

Shall we dance?

They’re turning it into a what? the younger whines.

A cinema, her sister sighs. You know, for movies?

I know what a cinema is, thank you, the younger says haughtily. I just can’t believe the Cunnews would do that!

It is 1927 and they have been attending dances at the W for the past two years. Some of their best memories had been formed there. It was where the younger first held a boy’s hand (and tried her first cigarette), where the elder began to love jazz, where they learned how to charleston.

And now it is coming to an end.

We can’t let this happen! shrieks the younger. Where will we go? You know mum won’t let us listen to Armstrong in the house! …Do you think we could talk to Bruce?

I don’t know, sis, says the elder, pensive. But we better get ready for the last one.

So they don their dresses (just above the knee), comb their bobs, and join hands as they walk down the street; one last dance at the W.

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