Whispers in the Dark

Last night I ventured out to see a play and meet up afterwards with a friend who was in it. I see many shows a year so I tend to not think of going to a play as anything special – or at least not more special than the production calls for. As far as theaters go, last night’s venue was unique – it was at the Guthrie, a space I really enjoy. The mere fact that they have three stages, and that two of them share a two-story lobby, makes the place feel like it’s bubbling with energy. It’s like a busy stretch of theatre goers along a busy city street, except it’s indoors with mood lighting, chairs and a bartender every 30 yards. It’s an excited pre-show atmosphere like few others.

Some people like to dress up and get all fancy for a special occasion, while others….don’t. Last night I saw people in their Sunday best, with expensive bags and pearls, sitting next to some guy in jeans and a hoodie.

I fell somewhere in between.

It probably sounds judgmental (I’ll own it) that the way one dresses at a show like this tells me how often they attend such things. The guy in the hoodie = not often; the lady with the pearls = season ticket holder. Of course, these are ridiculous things for me to assume, and while they may be my first thoughts (i said I’ll own it) I almost immediately rescind the notion.

But what I cannot ignore and take back is the judgement I express in my head when it comes to poor theater behavior. You know….the talkers, whispers, fidgeters.

Drives. Me. Nuts.

Last night there were about four family members sitting directly behind me that talked almost as much as the actors on stage, even if not always as loudly. Lots of whispering and explaining things to each other (or perhaps to one person?) and several unnecessary comments.

Ex: At one point a character steps off stage to a bathroom, moments later there’s a sound of flushing, followed by the guy directly behind me saying, “He’s fast!”.


I realize this is an old topic, not really worth hashing out…and no one’s going to find the solution. Why are people so selfish? Why are they not considerate of others around them? I guess I should appreciate that most of it was whispered, and rather quietly whispered, but it’s still rude.

This may be the only way I think the theatre is dying. Because some people don’t know how to behave when their living room becomes a public space and the people on the TV can actually hear them talking. Maybe that’s part of it. Which would also explain why we need to do an audio announcement to a) turn off cell phones and b) don’t take pictures.

I’d like to think that for these people the theatre-going experience is new, so perhaps they’re not familiar with what they should or should not do? But, somehow that doesn’t explain it all.

There’s something about our culture that has shifted the acceptable decorum in public, and even as I write this….I realize it makes sound like I’m getting old. But even if I am, I’ve never been the rude one in the house. And I’ll continue to give the necessary over-the-shoulder glare to quiet the heathens.

No. Not judgmental at all, right?




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