What is bad theater? Sitting beside patron who slurps, fidgets, then burps for encore

This Just In...

September 18, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

THIS JUST IN reader Paula Gallagher gives two thumbs-up to AXIS Theater's production of "Angels In America," despite a downright satanic effort by someone in the audience to ruin her evening. She apparently sat next to the theater patron from hell. According to Gallagher, this fellow:

1. Arrived five minutes into the opening monologue.

2. Slurped loudly from a bottle of juice.

3. Made himself a cocktail by cracking open a small bottle -- apparently, a package store "mini" -- and pouring its contents into the juice.

4. Slurped the cocktail, smacked his lips and finished with a belch.

5. Fidgeted and moved anxiously in the somewhat cramped seating in an attempt to catch a bit of stage light so he could read his program.

6. Clicked a Bic lighter and used the small flame to illuminate said program.

7. Combed his hair during the performance.

8. Returned to his seat late from both intermissions.

9. Added a few bits of dialogue -- in a loud and clear voice -- during emotional scenes in the play.

10. Blew his nose with abandon. (Actually, he ripped a napkin in half and blew his nose with that.)

Sounds like ol' Beelzebub his bad self. AXIS Theater needs an exorcism. Someone call a priest!

Melrose or O's place?

Seen during Monday night's Orioles-Rangers game by TJI reader Debbie Burton, of New Freedom, Pa.: A young couple gathered around a small, hand-held TV set, watching "Melrose Place." Debbie thinks that's odd. What's so odd, Deb? It was the season premiere, for cryin' out loud! (And that couple probably still saw more of the game than half the people in the skyboxes.)

The common people

Mel Tansill, who teaches a writing class at the University of Baltimore, assigned his 25 undergraduates to write opinions of the Starr report on President Clinton. The average age of the class is 30. Most of the students have day jobs and families. Twenty-two of the 25 papers supported impeachment. "They don't see this as a sex thing at all," says Tansill. "They see that he perjured himself and obstructed justice, and must go."

Get your own speed bumps!

Trend-watching: As long-distance commuters become surlier and more aggressive, more and more suburban communities and sub-communities are demanding speed bumps on their jTC streets. In Eldersburg, the residents of MacBeth Way are asking for 13 chassis-rattlers. Residents of Monroe Avenue, a once-quiet, tree-lined street in Eldersburg, petitioned Carroll County for three years, asking for relief from speeders.

They finally had their hearing last week.

About 20 homeowners told tales of aggressive cars landing in their front yards, toppled trees and mailboxes and the dangers of retrieving the morning paper on a street where few obey the 25 mph limit.

Now the county will install four speed bumps at intervals along the 1,000-foot stretch of road.

A neighbor from a nearby street "crashed" the meeting to ask for similar impediments on his road. When he started to describe his personal travails, Monroe Avenue residents cut him off, shouting: "Get your own meeting!" And he probably will.

Out of the money

At a charity auction last fall, my buddy, Frankie Sweetbread, won a Maryland Jockey Club pass for a day at the races. Frankie's not a regular railbird, so he wasn't sure the horses were running at Pimlico this time of year. So, knocking around the Internet Monday night, he looked it up. He couldn't find it. "None of the key words I tried in various searches worked," he tells me. "So, I tried the old telephone. All I could get at Laurel was a recording about the July schedule and the 'upcoming' Timonium meet. I gave up and sunk down in front of the TV. No wonder horse racing in Maryland is ailing."

For the record: Pimlico is dark, except for simulcast racing, until 1999. Laurel opens again for racing next month. Maryland Million day is Oct. 17.

Needed: One sentence

We're having some fiction fun in cyberspace. It's a "covered dish" short story -- everybody has to bring a sentence. I wrote the opener, to get things started, yesterday morning: "It was noon when Sid Revoc woke up in the dusty cloud of a hay wagon, a broken bottle in his coat pocket, the taste of bitter almonds in his mouth." (Mild apologies to James M. Cain and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.) That lead is now posted on the columnist bulletin board of SunSpot, this newspaper's Web site. If you'd like to contribute a line -- please, only one per day -- go to www.sunspot.net/news. Look for "discussion." One click and you're in my salon. BYOP (Bring your own prose.)

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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