Monday, March 5, 2012

The latest in audience misbehavior, or: Don't make me use the cane!

I was lucky enough to witness a truly wonderful performance by Boston Baroque on Saturday night - but it wasn't so wonderful for everyone, at least not at first.

In the interval between the first and second pieces, I heard a small voice behind me repeating, "Excuse me . . . excuse me . . . excuse me!"

Turning, I saw a sweet little old lady seated across the aisle, trying to get the attention of the gentleman directly behind me. Now I had sensed that he might be trouble - he'd hummed the opening bars of the first movement of Mozart's Symphony No. 29, and then had wheezed softly on occasion after that.

But I quickly realized that as I'd been sitting in front him, I'd been missing the true centerpiece of what had probably counted as an on-site interpretive dance.

"Could you - excuse me, but could you please - " the lady was continuing, even though she was obviously being ignored (he was softly wheezing again).

But then she took out the cane.

"EXCUSE ME," she repeated, more sternly, as she brandished it in close proximity to his stomach (the wheezing ceased immediately).

"Could you please stop waving your arms as if you were conducting the piece?" she continued, with an I-mean-business look in her eye, as the cane hovered. "I'm sorry, but it's extremely distracting."

There was only continued silence.

"Thank you," she added with a smile, setting her cane down again, but on the aisle - i.e., at the ready.

Toscanini took the hint, for the cane remained undisturbed for the rest of the concert.

I have to get a cane.

1 comment:

  1. Good on her! Sadly, more members of any audience are showing this sense of self absorption regardless of place. Movies were miserable for awhile in 80's due to chatters who treated public spaces as extentions of their living rooms. It is still surprising how some some people equal purchasing a ticket to behave as they please with impunity.