My beautiful husband and I had a night out recently; we went to the theatre. I like going to the theatre because a lot more people make the effort to dress up for it (and -surprise surprise! – I like to dress up and see others looking nice also 😉
We took our seats and settled in. There was an elderly couple directly behind us, who were having a lengthy discussion before the start of the show. I commented (quietly) to David ‘we might be in for some commentary here’ to which David replied ‘no, surely they’ll stop talking when the show starts’.
But no. The wife kept speaking as the show commenced, and a good 5-10 minutes into it. I confess a weakness at this point – this is an absolute pet hate of mine, people talking over a performance, and I don’t deal with the situation particularly well.
Case in point – at the 10 minute mark I turned around and glared at the woman. No response (no eye contact from her, husband saw the death look however!)
A few more minutes – I turned around again and uttered ‘do you mind !?!’ At this point David (quietly!) pointed out to me that if I react, the situation may get worse.
But I could stand it no longer. As soon as there was a break in the show and the audience was busy applauding, I half stood, turned to her and said ‘excuse me, but we did not pay good money to listen to you tonight, please be quiet!’.
The wife did not look at me as I addressed her; the husband did. I heard the wife say afterward ‘what did she say, she doesn’t have any money?’
However the outcome was good; there was not much noise from either of them for the duration of the performance. I also shot the wife one last look as we left at the end of the evening!
I am not exactly proud of this, I am sharing my experience for honesty – I am usually very polite and diplomatic, but am also human, and do get a lot of things wrong. I am not sure how I would handle this in the future, as I am certain it will happen again; it seems like every show we go to there are people talking through it! I am also aware that by addressing a stranger in this manner I run a personal safety risk – I could end up with a drink poured over me or, worse, being assaulted. I just wish audiences had a few more manners when it comes to keeping quiet during a show. Surely whatever is being said can wait until later.