Tonight was an interesting show. During the opening we started to hear some unusual noises emitting from the audience. We looked at each other in puzzlement, trying to figure out the cause.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
It sounded like cries. Or moans.
In between groups of 4 doing the jazz combination we whispered to each other, Maybe somebody should take their baby out of the theater...Or...Is there a baby pterodactyl in the house? Or even, People should practice their...uh, intimate moments somewhere else.
I mean, that's not exactly a controversial statement, right?
Finally, once we were in place on the line, I was able to get a good look at where the intermittent moans were coming from: a teenage boy with special needs sitting in the third row between what looked to be a mother and a grandmother.
And my heart went out to him. Each time his moaning started his next-of-kin would get to work shushing him. He would stop, but then something would set him off again in a few moments. The thing was, I could see the other patrons around him--people who had spent $100 a ticket to watch the show, presumably without distraction--and they were getting annoyed, maybe even irate, though they held their tongues.
And well, my heart when out to them, too--albeit, not in the same way.
I was discussing this with other people in the cast, and it was hard to come up with a solution, exactly. I mean, this young man has special needs, yes, but it's sad to think that he is not free to watch live theater like everyone else. Maybe he is autistic and, though unique, could still perfectly understand the theme of the show and it changed him for the better, encouraged him to paint, draw, write, etc.
Conversely, it was not very sensitive to the other audience members--let alone, the live actors--to have to try to shut out the moans while absorbing the play. There is nothing like loud moaning from an audience that according to our show, isn't supposed to be there in the first place, to disrupt the suspension of disbelief that one hopes every audience member adheres to.
Anyway, bless that young man's heart. Hopefully he was encouraged by the show. And bless the audience members around him who were patient and overlooked the distractions (I hope anyway). Or at least, who didn't say anything--though they sure shot some looks, believe you me. But from their perspective, can you blame them?
What are your thoughts? I'd be interested to know.