A reader was amused by my suppressed longing to strangle a noisy dancegoer:
A critic’s work is never done — without a few weapons in his pocket.
You haven’t lived until you’ve attended theater in Fresno, California, which is certainly the worst place on earth for public events (except, perhaps sporting events where rowdy is expected).
I have — I am not making this up, as Dave Barry would say — had a woman sitting next to me singing all of the lyrics loudly. When I politely asked her to refrain, she stood, shrieked at me and everyone in the vicinity that she’d paid for her ticket and she’d damn well sing. It stopped the music. When it started again, she sang.
I have watched standing ovations at intermission for unwatchable performances — I think they are required for everything here. It won’t be long before the audience is staggering to its feet to applaud the curtain opening.
I once had a woman reading her grocery list into her cell phone and explaining what shelf the things would be found on. This was during a very funny and hyperactive performance of Pirates of Penzance, something that should have kept her attention.
But the one bright spot is that most of the offenders are old. Children sit transfixed. Maybe when the geezers die (except me, who will always be too young to be a geezer, of course), we’ll get our public space back. We rarely go out any more. I have little doubt that I’d be the one arrested for murder when, obviously, murder is necessary.
All of which reminds me of the last paragraph of one of my Daily News reviews of the New York Philharmonic: “As for the audience, suffice it to say that concertgoers who cough with open mouths should in my opinion have them closed by a passing usher, preferably with a baseball bat.”