When I saw Golden Boy on Broadway last year as press I was so moved that I went and bought myself a ticket to see it again before it closed. I especially wanted to see a particularly affecting moment near the end, in which the main character is in tears, slumped on the floor, his lover draped around him weeping, and he assesses how his entire life has been a failure. I waited with goosebumps on the edge of my seat for this scene as it approached, and right as it came around the woman-next-to-me’s cellphone started buzzing, and she started fiddling with it to read the text message she’d just gotten. It was distracting, took me right out of the action on stage, and ruined what would be the last time I’d ever see one of my favorite things. Well, thanks, lady.
So, yeah, people with their cell phones at the theater. They’re the worst. So that story about the guy who took a cell phone away from a woman during a performance of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and threw it against a wall? Well, yeah, I don’t know if violence is the answer, but it sure is fun to enjoy vicariously: fantasies made real and such. (It joins other great theater cell phone stories: Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig stopping a play to wait for a cell phone to stop ringing; Alan Gilbert halting a New York Philharmonic performance of Mahler’s Ninth for the same reason.) But it’s not just cell phones that are the worst at the theater. There’s lots of annoying things people do. All of you, please stop doing the following.