To the man who was sitting behind me late Saturday night at Norman Lup-Man Yeung’s Jasmine at the Factory Studio:
You must like SummerWorks a lot, because I noticed you at the show that closed minutes before Jasmine began, at the Factory Mainspace. You were by yourself then as well, but you didn’t disrupt that show. Oh lucky show. Oh lucky audience.
You’re about 6’4” or 6’5”, heavy set, with a moustache. You resemble a chunkier Robert Lantos, that producer guy from Alliance. You were wearing those sandals with the two Velcro straps. The kind of footwear that suburban middle-aged types wear because they’ve got that extra support around the ankle which is soooo nice when you’re carrying a few extra pounds.
You must have been playing with those Velcro straps. At first I thought you were opening a candy wrapper, but no candy wrapper sounds like that. (Also: it went on for way too long for any candy I can imagine.) Then I thought maybe you were rubbing the stubble on your chin. But it sounded amplified, as if someone were sticking a microphone in your face while you were rubbing that chin stubble.
If that microphone had been there, you could have talked into it, while you were at it. You could have said something like, “Hey people, I know there’s a show going on, but I’m going to undo my Velcro sandal straps over and over again. I know you’d rather listen to that than to the dialogue onstage.”
Yes, it was Velcro. You see, as I am writing this I am taking out my digital camera case to see if that’s the sound, and it is. Very slow. Painful. The sound of grit. The sound of expensive heavy fabric being ripped apart.
Maybe if I had brought my camera with me, I could have taken your picture to post on this website, with the words, THEATRE ASSHOLE, written underneath them. I could have distributed it to all the SummerWorks house managers so they could be on the lookout for you and your Velcro sandals.
But no, I was at the theatre and you don’t take pictures there. Just as you don’t leave your cellphone on. And you don’t make noises that disturb the people who have paid to see the show.
As it turned out, I hadn’t paid for my ticket because I was seeing the show, my 5th or 6th of the day, so that I could write about it. And I couldn’t write about it while listening to the earth torn asunder behind me.
I gave warning. I looked at you once. Twice. Three times. My theatre critic colleague, Lynn Slotkin, who is far fiercer than I, looked behind at you once, twice, then I believe displayed her profile in general annoyance.
If there were any justice in the world, an usher would have ushered you out of there. But instead I quickly packed up my stuff and, as quietly as I could manage, moved to a seat closer to the stage. Even there I could hear you repeating your little Velcro siren call, although with a little less volume.
I quite enjoyed Yeung’s show, especially when I got to hear the words. I can’t say the same about your tacky opening act.
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