Thursday, March 22, 2012

One of My Worst Experiences Attending the Theater

Frustrated Theatergoer
In The L Magazine, David Callahan gave the Broadway version of Venus in Fur a negative review. However, he qualifies his review with the following:
To be fair and above board, the night I saw the play someone in the audience had a radio of some kind playing faintly throughout the entire performance, with the barely perceptible sound of a choir followed by waves of applause, which didn't help anyone's concentration. In fact, it has to count as one of the most maddening experiences of not just my theatergoing life but my life in general, and if you think I'm being overly dramatic, well, you weren't there—or I hope you weren't. But that's the peril of live theater, and I know that there was higher emotion among audience members looking desperately a round for the source of that noise than there ever was on stage.
Ironically I had a similar experience at a matinee performance of How I Learned to Drive at Second Stage Theatre last month. As the 90 minute performance with no intermission began, music could be heard playing faintly. I immediately scrambled and look in my purse to see if I had accidentally turned on my MP3 player. Whew, not me! However, the music continued throughout the entire performance. Audience members looked around trying to identify the culprit to no avail. At pivotal moments in the performance random tunes blasted. I left the theater frustrated and disgusted feeling like I had just squandered $40 in cash. I did not enjoy the performance of Paula Vogel's masterpiece. It had to be one of the worst theater experiences I have ever had. The culprit was either seriously hearing impaired or the most inconsiderate person I ever experience at the theater – right above the jerk who read emails throughout a matinee performance of The Lion King and the young couple with multiple facial piercings who held a conversation throughout the entire first act of a recent matinee of Carrie. Do I need to stop attending weekend matinees? Or is the communal experience of live theater on the New York City stage deteriorating? 

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