As World War II was ending, my uncle was about to be discharged from the Royal Navy. He decided to enjoy an evening out, and bought a ticket to see a play in London. It was opening night of a new show. He told me that he was not quite sure what the show was about, but had heard that it was a musical—an American musical. He also said that he didn’t really care what he was going to see. All he wanted was to celebrate the fact that he had lived through a war and would be going home soon.
The first thing he noticed when he entered the theater foyer was the brilliance of the lights. For six years he—and members of his generation—had had to get used to muted lighting, and sometimes to no lighting. Now, at least in this warm, welcoming and crowded space, the world was suddenly bright again. Another thing he noticed was how alive and excited everyone was, and to his surprise he realized that their festive mood was affecting him, and that he felt the same way.