New German Theatre

Egon Erwin Kisch

Going to the theatre was our sport and our passion. The gallery, standing tickets! The most beautiful memory from my youth.
Oh, looking down from this Mount of Olympus, enjoying the joy and ambrosia of the youth! It was only quarter to four and we were already getting restless in our stenography lesson, placing our books under the desk and as soon as the school caretaker rang the bell, we would gallop up to the theatre. For two hours, we would be jammed in front of the door, pushing each other, sweating and patiently bearing any torments. Realchule and grammar school students would get in conflicts here, there were always some French swearwords in the air and Latin insults coming back. Everyone had a special queueing technique. Little Tony who was very skilled in swift crawling would hide our money in his clenched fist – the number of members in our group multiplied by twenty kreutzers –, Artur, a feared centre forward player would stand menacingly with legs apart above him and defend him. When the door finally opened – it would usually slam with pieces of cracked glass flying around – jump! Tony would appear at the cash box and distribute the tickets in a moment, and then we would rush up the stairs throwing the tickets to the usher and reach our destination, the left peanut gallery where notables would meet. (Only newbies dash to the centre.)

Source: Egon E. Kisch. Pražská dobrodružství. Praha: Tiskárna RP, 1968, p. 69–70.

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