299 This is Your Audience

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I went to see Open House by Will Eno last week at Signature Theater. Tickets were $25, and if you are in NYC, you should see it. It was fantastic.

The Linney Theater sat 200 or so, and it’s a new play, so I expected a younger audience. There were blue-hairs everywhere, and maybe a handful of people under the age of 65! Having an audience is crucial, so I am not complaining about the elderly coming to see theater, I am just wondering where all the young people are hiding? I thought I was back in the sticks again, but there were no tour buses, and there was no buffet.

I went to sit down and I sat in the wrong seat so there was a little rearranging happening between my friend and I. The woman next to me, who was at least 75, was scowling at me. I will refer to her as grumpy woman. The show hadn’t even started but I guess we pissed her off. I opened my big mouth and said, “Wow! There are a lot of friendly people here tonight.” I then looked in grumpy woman’s direction, and she moved her gaze to the stage. The lights dimmed, the curtain speech started, and everyone quieted.

Within 3 minutes, a phone was vibrating vigorously in front of me, and no one turned it off. I rolled my eyes. Then after about 10 minutes, two elderly women behind me started rooting through a plastic bag and continued to do so for about 5 minutes. It was so loud I couldn’t watch the show.

I am always on the fence about confronting people while a show is going on, as you never know how the offenders are going to react. But, I didn’t have to do anything, as grumpy woman next to me kept turning around and giving them dirty looks. BUT they crinkled louder. Grumpy woman then said something to them and they stopped. Ten minutes went by and it started up again. This time grumpy woman and her husband turned around together and the crinkling stopped.

Five minutes later, grumpy woman who had done the chastising earlier, had her purse in her lap and was rooting through it making dreadful noises. You know, the clink of house keys and pills being jostled in their bottles. Now, the elderly patron in front of us got pissed, and turned to chastise grumpy woman. Grumpy woman just scowled back at her.

We FINALLY had about 20 minutes of peace and quiet, and were able enjoy the show we paid to see. Then, the women behind us started with their plastic bag again. Finally, grumpy woman turned around and said loudly, “Stop it!” There is a long silence, and then I heard the women behind me loudly say, “We should just kick her and her husband in the neck. What’s their problem? Let’s kick them in their necks.” Grumpy woman huffed and puffed, and then finally all the bullshit ended.

Man oh man! It’s bad out there in the blue-haired trenches.

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