391: A Memorable Fancy LIX: The Playgoer27 July, 2012
There is a prop or two on stage: perhaps a stool, turned backward. Mist rises from under-stage machines. Experts have assured the theatre manager that no toxic chemicals are involved, or at least that none will, under normal circumstances, reach the audience. Nonetheless, physicians are in attendance.
At last the house is full. The audience shifts uneasily in its seats. Coughs ring out from those who suppose, vainly, that by coughing at this permitted time, no coughs will issue from them during the performance. House-lights dim.
The audience knows how it will all turn out because they have come to this place innumerable times in the past, if they have survived to attend again this time. They become restless even though they know there are hours until intermission.
This playgoer has come, once again, to see the same play. Perhaps he hopes for a different ending. The first act was promising, but the actor playing the role of Arthur has let him down in the second act. Perhaps, next time, it would be better if everyone were to die at the end of the first act. Yes, he thinks, I can make that happen.