Here is the continuation of Allison’s LLLPlay experience. Part 1 is here. Enjoy
Love, Love, Love: The Audience Experience (or: I Have No Stage Door Game)
Some follow-up comments to the previous post, this time about my experience beyond the play itself.
I’d never been to Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre and it was a great place to see a play. I’m always amused, though, by some of the audience behavior I see at the theater, especially some of the high-profile ones in New York. While the play was on a woman directly behind me kept speaking to her friend in long sentences in extremely loud Russian – so loud I was convinced it could be heard on the stage. Sigh. No one did anything about it, so I finally turned around and shot her a Death Glare to shut her up. The woman next to me informed me before the play began that she had to leave after the first act to catch her flight. Seriously? Who buys a front-row ticket for one third of a play?! (It dawned on me only in hindsight that I should have found a Richard Armitage fan to take her seat. Argh – my bad.)
And then there is my hilariously fumbled stage door experience. Richard left the theater just minutes after the play ended (someone tweeted that he had to run off to a Berlin Station promo event?), and I was one of just five people waiting to greet him. I was so sorry that other fans in attendance missed him altogether and don’t take for granted the fact that I saw him at all afterward. I have to say I had very low expectations for the whole stage door thing; I’d never done one before and had mixed feelings about the whole concept. Also, I’d watched the videos posted by fans and knew that Richard moved quickly and often didn’t even make it through the whole line. Fair enough. (Nitpicky aside: I also noticed he was always lugging his big bag. I’ve staffed several well-known people at events over the years in my job, and wonder why a Roundabout staffer doesn’t just give his bag to the driver of his waiting car to free him up.)
But with so few people there, I let my expectations rise a little, and I figured I might at least get to look him in the eye and thank him for his performance. Stupidly, I even thought suddenly, “Hmm, I know I always knock selfies (I hate photos of myself), but why not try for one with Richard after all?” To my right was the sweet elderly woman I tweeted about that day (I originally thought maybe she was getting her Thorin photos signed for a grandchild, but no, she told me, she was the fan!). To my left was just one other person.
I was poised and ready, holding out my phone. And after attending to the older woman on my right, Richard then…moved quickly to the woman on my left. He skipped right over me. I felt so invisible, even though I’m 5’8” and there was literally no one else standing in our vicinity (if it had been crowded, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought). I even, briefly, had the (very) irrational thought, “Oh, no – Richard Armitage hates me!” In truth, the woman to my left was waving her camera wildly and had really gotten his attention; I gave her my second Death Glare of the day for her rudeness but she seemed oblivious to having cut me off. This was also the weekend Richard had returned from the whirlwind LA Berlin Station premiere trip, so the poor guy was likely beyond exhausted (and seriously, hats off to the man for doing the stage door on any day after a two-hour performance. I can’t imagine how fried he must be.).
After he finished with her, I gently asked for a photo as he was trying to scuttle off and I took one in a nanosecond. The universe decided that since I didn’t like selfies it wasn’t going to give me one: something went wrong and my phone didn’t take the photo. I hated being the person who bugged him as he was trying to leave (not my usual MO, and the kind of behavior that made me question the stage door thing to begin with) and am way less bothered by the lack of a selfie (note to self: never try that again) than the fact that I should have just spent my nanosecond blurting out thanks.
Anyway, I really don’t want all of this to sound like sour grapes – ever since the first few minutes of shock wore off, I’ve been laughing about the whole thing. I feel lucky to have been there at all that day and it was such a thrill to see Richard perform. And I consider myself very fortunate that I’ll get to see the play again soon.