Sunday, January 31, 2010

Paul Nellis ruins "Almost, Maine" for old lady sitting next to him.

Let me start by saying that this was a wonderful play, potentially the best I've seen at Geva in my 7-year tenure.

Anyways, I began my theatre-going experience somewhat annoyed by the obnoxious theatre etiquette of the Rochester audience.  People kept coming in late, jostling the seats, and distracting me from the thoughtful performances on stage.  Near the end of Act One, however, something happened that changed me and ruined the show for the old lady sitting next to me.

Something caught me eye from across the house.  I looked over just in time to witness a playbill falling from the balcony down into the orchestra section.  As it clobbered a permed coif of dark hair, I looked up just in time to see a classy yet embarrassed woman nervously looking to her left and right, and then covering her face in her hands.  Yes, the woman in the balcony had DROPPED HER PROGRAM OVER THE BALCONY AND IT HIT SOMEONE ELSE IN THE HEAD.

Not the funniest thing to ever happen, not even close.  But, I was not able to let out even the littlest snicker because this particular moment in "Almost, Maine" was quiet, touching, and heartfelt.  At least I think it was because no one else was laughing.  In a desperate attempt to stifle the bellowing laughter growing in my chest, I put my own face down in my hands and tried to laugh as softly as possible.  This turned out to be my greatest mistake.  Like a balloon filled with air, I preceded to turn what would have been a loud pop out of my mouth into a long slow hiss.  Attempting to not laugh out loud caused me to shake violently in my seat, and the seats of those around me, for the remainder of Act One (a good five minutes).

As intermission came to a close, a patron seated a few seats down my row recognized me as a member of the improv troupe and proceeded to gush about our shows.  I mentioned the incident with the falling program to him, and his wife asked "Was that you creating all the vibration?"  Embarassed, I tried to apologize to the old lady sitting next to me, but she would not look me in the eye.

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