What Do You Do With a Problem Like…Marauding Idiots Watching a Play?

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noises-offBravo to Scottish actor Ken Stott for stopping in the middle of a performance of A View From the Bridge in London to castigate a bunch of rowdy schoolchildren who were sitting in the front row making fulsome idiots of themselves. No actor should have to put up with that and I don’t blame Stott for losing his cookies — or, according to this story on the incident, his American accent.

This kind of nonsense, of course, is happening more and more. It’s as if we’re regressing in terms of how audiences are conducting themselves. When I saw West Side Story, this hateful woman beside me ate a bag of nuts with her husband as if they’d just gotten out of fat farm and needed a fix. Just this past Saturday night at the Pearl Theatre Company’s revival of Tartuffe, there was this woman who I’ll charitably call ancient, who sat in the front row and roared at every line and applauded every major speech. At the end of the play, she rose and then turned to the audience and began vigorously pointing at random members of the audience, yelling at them to stand up and applaud. Dementia never seemed so terrifying.

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