Saturday, August 20, 2011
What Happened in My Head
I will actually be in a live performance in a local theatre this fall, Sirens, at Heartland, in early and mid-November, and a cellphone going off in the middle of it is, sadly, a real possibility. Hence, the elaborate fantasy.
Here's what happened in my head:
Mike, the artistic director, gave his usual pleasant curtain speech encouraging season tickets & volunteers, offering bottled water during intermission, and delivering the please-turn-off-your-cellphones request.
Then I came out and said, "Hi, I'm Kathleen Kirk, an actor in tonight's play, and I'd just like to ask you again to please turn off your cellphones. You may think your cellphone is off, or on mute, but it might not be, so please check. Also, I am technologically challenged, so even when I put my cellphone on mute, I might not have turned all the sound off, so if someone leaves a message, that little song starts singing later, and whoa! is that embarrassing! We wouldn't want that to happen to you, would we?
"I ask because, even though Mike asks every single night in his curtain speech, every single night someone's cellphone goes off during the performance. Really! No kidding! It's terribly distracting for the actors and the audience, and the people next to you will hate you and think you are stupid.
"You're not stupid, right? So, please, doublecheck, and turn your cellphone off, all the way off.
"If you are a super-important doctor-on-call, I'm not sure why you came to the theatre tonight, since you are on call, but, if you did, you can leave your cellphone on vibrate in the box office and, if there's an emergency and you have to go perform an appendectomy, the person in the box office will come out and stop the play and get you.
"I don't even want to mention texting.
"On a personal note, I could be at the state volleyball tournament tonight, watching my daughter play, but I made this commitment to my theatre colleagues in the spring and to you, tonight's audience, and, even though I am eager to hear about the game, I have turned off my cellphone so it doesn't ring or sing or buzz or vibrate backstage, causing any audible distraction for you, or physical disturbance to my fellow actors.
"Once I step out on this stage, in character, I am all yours and won't be thinking about volleyball at all. I will attend to that after the performance. But if a cellphone goes off tonight, while I am playing Rose in Sirens, it's possible I will have to step off the stage and out of character and escort you out of the theatre because of the disrespect to all..."
Cut to middle of play...cellphone goes off in the date-with-an-old-high-school-pal scene...Rose rummages around in her purse thinking it's hers, then listens, looks, and steps to the edge of the stage and off and up a little red-carpeted stair and rummages in the purse of an audience member and answers her phone:
"Hello? No, this Kathleen! I'm in a play right now, and you've called [expletive deleted] as she sat in this theatre audience watching the play. ...I know! Pretty rude. So, I'm going to have to hang up now, and turn off this phone, and escort her out of the theatre. If it's really important, you'll call her back, right? Bye!"
Kathleen/Rose turns off the phone, fumbling a bit in her technology challenge, and looks around for a big man.
"OK, ma'am, I'm going to have security escort you out. Security? Sir, could you be security for a moment, and escort this woman all the way to the front door? Here, you can give her her cellphone when she's outside. We'll wait for you. We won't start the play again till you get back.
"Anybody else need to doublecheck your cellphones?"