Today someone tried to enter the theatre late, during the performance.
I realised later during a conversation with Andrew and Andrea that I should have just let them in to come and sit down. Why didn't I do it? I thought to myself. I realised that the idea had not even entered my head. Which was weird. I mean, they are human beings. They are trying to see theatre (unless they were just coming for rehearsals or something). I love people who try and see theatre. I mean, they have left the house, gone out into the cold, they have tried and failed to make it to the theatre on time. They wanted to engage with an age-old tradition of a small group of people under lights trying to say something of importace to a larger group of people in darkness. More people should try and see theatre. And I especially love anyone who tried to come to some action which I have made, because I feel honoured.
And then I realised something else.
My laptop was on.
There are two times when my laptop is on. One is at the start of the show, and one is at the end of the show. It plays part of the Retraction episode of This American Life, which I put in to give context to Mike's monolgue so people wouldn't just accept it at face value. I can't play the whole thing because it's too long and people are there to see theatre, not listen to the radio.
The rest of the time, things are completely at my control. I can stop the show, I can change direction, I can do something completely different. But for these two moments, I am a servant to the technology. People have to hear the sound eminating from the speakers, it's "part of the show". So for these two moments we all must serve this little screen in the corner, spewing sound.
The fact is that these people arrived at only one of two moments when I do not have the power to stop the show. Normally, their humanist action, coming to see a show, would have been returned with my own humanist action, inviting them into the theatre. But not at these moments. The machine prevented it.
This bothers me. I am sorry to you, people who tried to enter, if indeed you were trying to see the show I have made. Or, I guess, also if you thought the space was free for rehearsal.
But it also says something louder about the way technology infiltrates moments even when we are trying to erase it. This has something of a relationship with Mike's text, and so I am writing this post.