I’ve mentioned earlier in one of my articles that I’ve been doing theatre for 9 years now, but during all that time I have also had the privilege of ‘watching’ a whole lot of plays too. Now, this shouldn’t reflect as me being a very inattentive audience member, but over the years I have been able to carefully observe and categorize different types of Theatre audience members. Here are six of the most dangerous kind. Dangerous as in, apart from irritating the hell out of you and not letting you enjoy the play, they have the gift of making you think ‘murder’.
1) The “Hmmm” Category :- I’ll be frank, such people are pricks ! They will sit quietly throughout the show just ‘staring’ ! They don’t look happy or sad, they just ‘stare’. Some of them don’t even blink. They will either have their hands folded tightly in front of them, or will rest their head on one hand with three fingers strategically placed on their face, 2 on the temple, 1 right under their lower lip (probably practice it for hours in front of a mirror). And every once in a while, no matter what kind of scene is going on they will let out a small “hmmm” ever so softly, only they can hear it. I have on occasion sat next to such people and am gifted with wolf’s ears, hence I have heard these utterances. What makes these Bolsheviks even bigger pricks is that they feel that the director of the play needs their expert feedback. So they will float backstage after shows with their satchels, walk coldly up to the director, shake his hand and not say more than 5 words :- “Nice, slightly long”. “Was the hamming intentional? ” . “Is this your first play ? ” . . . . . . Did I mention these people are pricks?
2) The ‘jackass’ category :- I have come to believe that people like these are watching a play for the first time in their lives, and the whole concept of people performing live and learning so many lines and making sure they don’t screw up is what’s funny to these people, because they never stop bloody laughing !! it isn’t even relevant if the play is a comedy or not, these creatures will laugh out loud at the most random things, almost always throwing off the poor actors on stage. And they laugh so loud !! They should be hired by demolition crews. They’ll be watching a play in juhu, but their friends in lamington road will know what a great time they’re having. And please don’t judge me, I’m not being mean or anything, but I have noticed that a majority of the jackass category are these really hefty women. Is the Zinger Burger to be blamed for this? You know, all the mutated chickens they use for their meat ???
3) The “Look I’m here” category :- Now this species is rare, but once they’re in the auditorium you can say goodbye to those 200 bucks of yours because you are ‘not’ going to see the play, or rather, you wont be able to. When they enter they will scan the crowd and yell out to their friends at the far end of the audi, and even if there is no friend they will let out a very loud “phew” right at the entrance, ‘just’ so that people turn around and look at them. Before the play starts they will (while pretending to actually talk to their friends) let everyone know about what phone they have, what moisturizer they use, how their bowel movements are, etc. Then, throughout the play, comments comments comments !!! I once witnessed the mother of a certain hindi film hero loving a play ‘so much’ that she belted out comments every 5 minutes, and with such variety :- “oh that’s so true”. “Did you see that ?”. “How can she say that ??”. “What a b*st*rd !!”. Oh, and all those times she was laughing.
4) The ‘lighthouse’ category :- these people are particularly irritating if they’re sitting in front of you. Why they come to see plays in the first place, I will never understand, because they clearly want to be somewhere else. At the most crucial points of the play these idiots will whip out their cell phones and check messages, or BBM, or check the time, and for no human reason the brightness level of their phones are on 150% intensity, so whenever their phones are out the hundred people behind them get distracted by the harsh light. Oh, and then there are those who will just ‘type away’ (this goes out to you college freaks) probably with 6 other friends who are also in some auditorium or another, but rather than looking at whats in front of them they’re discussing how Sunaina just got a ‘landing strip’ wax ! They aren’t even aware that the people around them wanna turn them into Zinger Burgers. God knows how much of the play they remember when they walk out. I guess if you ask them what the plot was they’d say, “umm, there were aliens in it right ?”
5) The ‘slumbering dragon’ category :- I actually sympathize with the people from this category, mainly because. . . . . I am part of it. Situation, you have either skipped lunch or had way too much lunch. Result, your stomach ‘grumbles’. A very normal occurrence, I mean, Bombay being the mother of the vada pav, more than a million people have this problem right? But sit inside a place like Prithvi Theatre for example, and the problem becomes your worst nightmare. The superb acoustics of that auditorium make your tummy sound like a drilling machine. I was watching a play with two friends once, and the lead actress of this play was just about to finish a very long monologue, “lanka was burning, burning ! BURNING !!” and my tummy goes “grrrrrrrrrrrrr” as if on cue. Naturally, my two friends were in splits on my right, the strangers on my left tried very hard to keep a straight face but a few giggles found their way out. Needless to say, I spent the next few days crying in bed and throwing rocks at the Dadar branch of Jumbo vada pav. However, I am atleast apologetic about my problem, but there are those in this category who choose to ignore that they have this problem. Their tummies will go on endlessly in growling symphonies but if you look at them accusingly they will keep staring forward, giving you the impression that you are ‘imagining’ the sounds. These people are the enemy !! and they should seriously consider a high fibre diet.
6) The ‘rustle-bustle’ category :- this irritating little sh*t will run into the audi ‘just’ as the third bell has rung, he/she will wobble and tumble through people and squash a few toes on the way to his/her seat ‘just’ as the house lights are dimming. He/she will be armed with a backpack, a raincoat /umbrella (whether its raining or not) 2 newspapers, a water bottle, smelly shoes, heavy breath, and “reeking” of sweat accumulated from the borivali fast. He/she will then proceed to ruin the first half hour of the play for you, because that’s how long the idiot takes to settle down. First, the raincoat will be taken off, but because he/she has people on either side either the arm gets stuck in the sleeve or someone gets hit in the face, and during the whole process you will only hear the crisp crushing sound of the polyester raincoat. Then more rustling sounds, as the newspaper is forcibly jammed into the backpack, then the backpack is squeezed and kicked under the seat, then to cover the dirty breath he/she will struggle in the dark with the wrapper of a chlor-mint, then the idiot feels cold and tries to put on the raincoat again. . . . . . . . . I mean, he/she might as well put up a tent while he’s/she’s at it. Please ! please kill such a person if you ever see them during a play, for my sake. Kill them painfully and slowly !! ‘I’ will invent the law that will keep you out of jail !!
Ps:- the writer wishes to emphasize that he does not encourage violence of any kind. Justice, yes! Violence, no.