The Boston Opera House is a magnificent theater built in 1925 and recently renovated and restored to the tune of $50 million dollars. Friend-Joe is a huge fan of theater and as Husband-Joe is not, Friend-Joe is my perfect companion for a night of musical magic. Perfect because he not only pays for everything (woo hoo!) but he has impeccable taste (dinner at Blu before, dessert after) and all I have to do is take the train in to Boston and meet him there. I don’t even have to drive home – he does! Bonus – I was on a crowded Green Line train and since he arrived at the restaurant before I did he ordered my favorite martini and had it delivered just as I sat down. My mother was right. Every woman needs 2 husbands – a straight one for sex, and a gay one for everything else.
The Opera House was filled to capacity (or at least it was after the first late-seating interval which brought in about 75 more people) for a production of Les Miserables. I was completely dismayed to learn you could (and were encouraged) to buy drinks at the lobby bar and take them in to the theater. Seriously? You can’t watch the first act without a drink in your hand? Worse yet I kept hearing plastic cups fall to the floor as people finished their drinks. I realize theaters are in desperate financial straits and the revenues from liquor must be a boon, but It felt like being in a crappy movie theater.
Late arrivals kept pouring in well into the first act. I’m amazed that so many people would spend that much money on a ticket and be 20 minutes late for the show. Whatever. The first act was wonderful. At intermission, up came the lights and the following thing happened:
If you click on the fuzzy (sorry) picture, you can see everyone obsessively punching open their phones and checking their messages and email. Whoa. I had my iPod touch in my purse (podcasts for the train ride) and snapped a quick picture of the ocean of obsession/compulsion surrounding me. It made me very, very sad.
Then things got worse. Everyone returned for the 2nd act (with their beverages properly replenished) and the 12-ish year old girl sitting next to me started leaning her head on (I’m guessing) her grandmother’s shoulder and complained she did not feel well. The grandmother (who was humming along off-key with the music) did not appear to care. Bitch had that “I’ve waited a year for this night and NOTHING is going to budge me” look on her face. (You’ll agree with the use of the “B” word – keep reading). I tried to concentrate on the show but when the girl started sipping water…and then spitting it up on the floor…..and heaving and spitting….. I wanted to be sucked into a black hole. I knew if one whiff of that hit my nostrils I would be joining her pronto. The grandmother? She just kept patting the little girl on the back and humming (serious pitch problems) along with the show. I was flabbergasted. I was PISSED. Not only was she a pain in the ass with her humming, but I could not believe she wasn’t going to turf that poor child out of there pronto. Then the poor girl started dry-heaving again in earnest and I must have jumped into Friend-Joe’s lap because he whispered, “Do you want to go stand in back?” and I said, “Yes!” and we were out of our seats and up the aisle in a nanosecond. We watched the last 10 minutes of the show from there and applauded the curtain calls as a sea of douchbags - er – people stormed the exits like there was a raging fire. Show some courtesy, people, applaud the effort and appreciate the talent – it’s a LIVE PERFORMANCE for pete’s sake. Then (and only then) the B-word grandmother comes sauntering up the aisle with her still-heaving, softly crying young charge and she looked at us, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Accidents happen!” like it was nothing at all. I was torn between whether I should call Child Protective Services or just bitch slap the woman right there. What a terrible thing to do to a child.
Walking back to Blu for dessert Friend-Joe and I talked about the decline of our civilization. The Boston Opera House was absolutely stunning – elegant, opulent, dripping in class. The audience was largely the complete opposite. I am deeply disturbed by such a culture shift. I found the movie-theater concessions and people bolting from their seats disturbing. I’ve had to abandon movie theaters because I can’t deal with all the talking, the flashing smart phones, texting, feet up on the seats - and the trashy floors. Now I have to abandon live theater? I feel like I’m turning in to what I used to call an “Old Fart” but now I understand why older people want to stay home and be left alone. I’m right there. RIGHT there. Honest.