Shake my head. Bite my tongue.
My best friend and I have been rushing “Matilda” for weeks to no avail. After the last time we were unable to get tickets, we walked by the Golden Theatre and were able to get tickets to “Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike” right on the spot.
We were super excited.
We ran into friends at the show and were even more excited.
The first act was fabulous, and we couldn’t wait for act two.
But then a strange phenomenon began to occur in the middle of act two.
At the top of act two, a man got up in the front row of the balcony and left; I was annoyed, but chalked it up to a bad bladder. It takes a lot to get me focused and I’m easily distracted. I’ve worked most of my life to be as focused as I am today.
Then, following Vanya’s epic meltdown in which he screams “WE LICKED POSTAGE STAMPS!”, while a majority of the audience was cheering and totally into it, two women left. Completely booked it. Later, more people left.
I started to boil a little more than usual. I recalled the story of man who threw the cell phone during “Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” and was wondering if following in his footsteps was the best career move. I opted to bite my tongue. I didn’t want David Hyde Pierce thinking I was a douche bag.
Is it my job to be offended for the cast of the play? No, definitely not, but I was pretty heated. By the time another small group of people began to leave five minutes before the end of the show, I wanted to stand up and shout: “DO YOU HAVE SOMEPLACE BETTER TO BE? YOU BOUGHT THESE TICKETS. YOU MUST HAVE HAD SOME INTEREST IN THIS PLAY.”
The final straw was when I saw a woman shamelessly struggling to descend the staircases at the climax of the play.
None of the actors in the show deserved that. I honestly hope that those people who left had a legitimate emergency which merited them leaving in the middle of a Broadway play they paid a hundred dollars to see.
So to those of you out there (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE): Please arrive to shows on time. Please leave at intermission if you really must leave. Because for those of us who love the theatre, you make us pretty sad.
Miles Mandwelle is a music director, vocal coach, occasional actor, and UNCSA directing student on furlough. He’s not sure what to do with himself. You can catch him drinking around New York.
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