Theatre Of Memories

November 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a film festival. It can be a small-town indie fest or the Festival de Cannes or anything in between. Who is in the story? An audience-goer, filmmaker, actress, or something unexpected? Through in some popcorn for fun. Go where the prompt leads!

Theatre Of Memories – by Hugh W. Roberts

“What’s the matter? Why are you crying?” whispered Adrian to his husband.

“I can’t help it,” sobbed Richard. “This LGBT film festival brings us lots to smile about, and when you see what we’re viewing on the screen right now, I can’t help but think about the times when, as a young boy, I cried myself to sleep because I thought I was all alone in this world.”

Looking around the theatre, Adrian witnessed evidence of tears and popcorn. Looking up at the screen, he squeezed Richard’s hand tight and watched the story unfold in front of the world.

Radebe Paso Dobe

 Strictly Come Dancing is a primetime TV show shown on the BBC in the United Kingdom. This year, for the first time in its history, it paired two male dancers.


Richard and Adrian first appeared in Edge Of Summer – another piece of flash fiction written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge.

Image of a box of popcorn, film clipper-board and film wheel
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses


28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

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30 thoughts on “Theatre Of Memories

  1. Loved this post and the video. I know it’s been a long time coming for the gay community Hugh, but I watch a lot of movies and series and barely a show without a gay couple or issue. Overdue! ❤

    1. Thanks, Debby. Yes, I agree. My post on my column at the ‘Carrot Ranch’ next week touches on the subject of LGBT characters in moves and on TV. I wrote it after discovering a shocking truth about myself. All will be revealed next week.

  2. I liked the video and the story was, for me, one of the best you’ve written because you touched on a universal topic. It’s exciting to be around to watch the story unfold but at the same time shameful that it’s taken so long.

    1. Thanks, Michael. I’m glad you enjoyed this piece of flash fiction. I guess progress is all about the signs of the times. There will always be issues, but nothing like gay people had to go through 70 years ago in the UK, although it is still a crime in some countries to be gay. One day, I hope being gay won’t be a crime anywhere. Our work carries on.

  3. Those dancers!!! But wow, first time two male partners have danced on the show? Now, I’m wondering if that has ever happened on other dance shows. But you capture the emotion of witnessing representation beautifully and powerfully.

    1. We had a female couple last year, but they had to pull out of the show early because one of them caught Covid. It’s taken a long time to get two male dancers doing ballroom and Latin on the show, but it’s at last happened and is an incredible moment. I only hope it goes a long way in letting those who haven’t ‘come out’ that they’re not alone in this world.
      Thanks, Charli.

    1. I remember these feelings so well, Marsha. As a young teenager, I thought I was the only gay person in the world. Coupled with all the hate I witnessed towards gay people, I thought I’d never make it to my 21st birthday.

      1. I’m glad you did make it, Hugh. You are such an amazing presence in the internet world, and I’m sure in your geographic world as well.

        Growing up is traumatic for so many people, but being gay was just starting to be accepted where we grew up in Portland, Oregon. In Indiana, where I lived until I was 15, I knew nothing about gay people and didn’t know anyone who was.

        When we moved to Portland, all of the sudden I found myself friends with several males who were gay.

        I was pals with one and madly in love with another, who had not come out. That was super traumatic for me. I did not find out for a couple of years. Then about four years later he set me up a friend of his who was also gay and we were super pals.

        My high school pal, Terry and I spent every day the summer after my graduation going to garage sales and buying antiques then selling them at a flea market. His father made him see me every day because I’d been in a car accident and gone through the windshield. My face was bandaged for several weeks and I was quite bruised for months.

        Terry didn’t mind too much, he got to drive my mom’s car every day and he didn’t have one of his own. And we made money at our antique business. Close to his 21st birthday he had one of the first transgender operations.

        So that’s part of my story. I’m sure we would have been great pals, Hugh….Oh, right… we ARE great pals. 🙂

        1. Thank you for sharing your story with me, Marsha.

          Of course, current times mean that things are much better. I went on many equality marches and protests in the 1980s to help get equality for everyone. I’m proud of that work, but there is still so much to be done. No more marches or protests for me, so I show my support through my writing.

          Sorry to hear about the bad accident you had. But it’s good to hear that your friend Terry stood by you during that time. You guys must have had lots of fun hunting down antiques and then selling them at flea markets. I used to do the same with video games.

        2. I was never a march in any protest kind of person. I accidentally got caught up in an anti-war demonstration in Portland when I was walking somewhere. I hadn’t realized it was a march until someone asked me a question about it.
          Good on you that you did that. Your marching must have made a difference because things are different now.

          The only time I’ve experienced being in a large crowd like that was on New Year’s Eve in New York. There were 700,000 people there according to the news. Mostly, I kept by the sidelines next to the police caution tapes. For a short time, I experienced the terror of being squeezed between people on all four sides as we walked in search of the ball. (NOT the same as a protest march, but scary and exhilarating all at the same time.)

  4. Wow, what a dance. The two are fantastic and the song gives you goosebumps. I love to see that there is progress in this area too regarding the pairing. Oh, and of course, I love your story.

    1. Yes, me too, Erika. The progress that we’re making is fantastic. Of course, the trolls came out when it was announced that two males had been paired up to dance, but they were drowned out by all the positivity that came when the announcement was made.
      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece of flash as well.

      1. The trolls may always be there. But if they cannot deal with it, it is their problem. The direction is clear and won’t turn around anymore!

  5. Whatever the world’s view on same-gender dancing and other social nuances, we are all the better for it. We live in a world of difference and sameness and we all deserve our voices to be heard. Beautifully written and expressed, Hugh. As for the video, men have been dancing together in Greece and Russia for eons 🙂

    1. Very true, Terri. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen two men ballroom dancing on primetime TV. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I heard the news that it would happen. We had two female dancers paired up in last year’s show, but they had to pull out after one of them got Covid. I hope these two guys make it all the way to the final, but, of course, only the best dancers should make it through.

  6. Nice!
    Always a special thrill to witness something that wouldn’t have been possible before. Thanks for the video, Hugh. Can’t go wrong with Captain Jack 🙂

    1. I’m glad you were able to view the video, Aimer. I wasn’t sure if it would work in North America.
      As with the dancing on the video, we’ve come on in leaps and bounds regarding equality and acceptance of who we are.

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