A few weeks ago, my roommates and I rushed out of the house for the most exciting, the biggest, the coolest thing happening at Wesleyan.
The Lion King. Show in Goldsmith Family Cinema, a real movie screen with plush red movie seating and surround sound.
We got there half an hour early to claim our seats. We knew it would be a big event and we did not want to take any chances! We reserved the odd fifteen seats that we needed to in the middle of the theater and settled in to wait, agitatedly squirming in our seats like impatient 5 year-olds.
The theater filled up within minutes! People were squeezing into the few seats left, trying to reserve ones for their friends, greeting people as they scanned the aisles for another open spot.
The lights went down, the movie came up and the theater was filled with cheering and applause. A feeling of reverence flooded the theater as awed students turned their faces up to watch the presentation of Simba to the entire animal kingdom. How many times had we watched that moment when we were kids? The Circle of Life song began to blast and I could hear my friends singing above and below me. I felt tentative at first – after all, we are always taught to be quiet and respectful in the theater so as not to disturb other people – then I went for it.
And I wasn’t the only one! More and more people began to sing. By “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” it was pretty clear that everyone in the audience was belting it out along with Simba. People were repeating lines and cheering for their favorite characters. I actually heard people blowing their noses and sniffing when Mufasa died. Tears were welling up in my eyes also. It was as though we were watching our own friends live out their lives on the screen! You know, if our friends were covered in a lot of bright yellow hair. Wolf whistles when Simba and Nala have their romantic romp in the twilight. Roars of applause when Rafiki makes his quick and comedic appearance.
When the movie had ended, the feeling of magic did not dissipate. Everyone was smiling, recounting their favorite parts of the movie, singing the songs. Such a feeling of camaraderie! Connected by a bond of a childhood movie, college students returning to the joys and sorrows of their past! Reminded of the wisdom of Timon and Pumba’s immortal phrase: Hakuna Matata.