Other Stuff: CLOD OF THE DAY

by Lynn on March 23, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

Clod of the Day

I was at Jitters at Soulpepper on Monday night—I couldn’t see it on its opening last week and Monday was the soonest I could see if after it opened.

I was third in from the far aisle. A couple, mid-50s-60s, was beside me. The man was on the aisle; the woman was beside him. I was on her left. The lights dimed to dark and the guy was still talking to his lady-friend. The lights went up and he said a few more words, not quite in a whisper, and he quietened.

He laughed a lot—and well he should. But then he commented to her quite often in the quiet moments of Act I, repeating lines he thought were amusing. When he had a rather protracted bit of commenting, in a full voice I thought I better help the man to better manners. I leaned forward, turned to my right around his lady-friend, got his attention and then indicated the stage and that “they can hear you when you talk,” and put my index finger across my lips, and then leaned back in my seat and looked forward. There was much quiet muttering between the couple but he did remain silent for the rest of the act.

I thought he might say something at intermission to get back. He didn’t. I was glad. Act II began and he really got into it. He laughed so much and so loudly I thought he might hurt himself. But then he leaned forward and turned to me and said in a louder than normal voice—again during a quiet moment—“I suppose you’re going to complain that I’m laughing too loud now, that I should stop laughing.” He said it so loudly that people in front of him started as did the guy to my left. No need to add to the rudeness. I didn’t acknowledge him, but it did put a damper for me on the show.

Rudeness in the theatre is interesting, isn’t it? You try to be polite and calm when telling someone to be quiet. And you have to know that you have to give the offender the last word. You have to or else the situation escalates. Let them have the last word as they defend their wounded feelings. But, you really want to say: “Talking in the theatre while the show is going on, is rude. Please stop.” You want to say: “If you can hear them (indicating the stage) they can hear you.” You want to say, “Why are you the only one talking in this otherwise quiet audience? Is there something you don’t understand because I’ll be glad to explain it all for you at intermission?” You want to say, ire raising, “Didn’t anybody care enough about you to teach you any manners?” (that is a bit harsh, but people remain silent too long and when they finally speak, it’s with an edge.). But you don’t. You sit and stew.

At the end he took his time getting up and finally he and his lady friend rose and lumbered up the aisle and left without a parting shot. Perhaps he works best in the dark, like racoons.

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