I've just got back from a night at the theatre (I was doing the lights and sound). Two plays, one called "Three Sleepless Nights" by Caryl Churchill followed by "Mountain Language" by Harold Pinter. In the first play by Caryl Churchill there is a scene where a woman lying in bed and in despair cuts her wrist(s). On scene I bring the main lights down and shine a spot light on the sheet that has (fake) red blood that can be seen.
I must explain, this is in France, but tonight an older lady started shouting out saying that with all that was going on (i.e. the unrest and strikes I suppose) having this type of thing on display was disgraceful and she wanted her money back!!! She carried on about it for several minutes stopping and starting again with people from the audience asking her to leave / be quiet etc.
During this time the actors in the next scene where wondering what to do, I couldn't really take cue to continue with this lady's weird diatribe and we were looking at each other with my dad wondering when or if she was going to stop. She didn't...
I had to go down with my dad who is producing the plays and I said that there was no problem we would reimburse her ticket and that we would like her to leave. She started saying that it was dark and she didn't want to leave in the dark. Well yes, she had actually waited until the scene ended to start raving on. My dad has been producing plays each year for 15 years now and this is the first time this has happened...
I was torn between the idea that this might have brought back some bad memories and/or whether she just genuinely lost it.
At one point a woman from behind in the audience when I just finished saying to her the she was spoiling the play for everybody else, cried out "She's Not Really Dead" which got her a round of applause !
The two plays aren't comedies, that's true, but it feels like we may need to give out a warning tomorrow before the play starts or have the people selling the tickets warning people that there is one scene that may be difficult for the more sensitive !!
What ever happened to getting up and walking out when you don't like something ?
Well it all proves that it was a very realistic production! A cathartic experience for one lady. The actors and actresses won't ever forget the effect they had on their audience that night. As Brecht said 'There is more real drama in the street than on the stage'.