The Broadway Chewer


Another play? I know I am a crazy thing living it up on Broadway.

So the latest performance was a star-studded cast for the Pulitzer and Tony-winning play ‘That Championship Season”

First off ‘Mr Big’ was not playing last night for whatever reason so the female disappointment in the air was palable. His replacement looked a lot like Sam Rockwell, but he wasn’t him. So as I sat in my wonderful stall seats, nice and early as usual and getting comfortable to hear every word, the lights dimmed. The audience still trailing in, slithering along the carpeted floor standing as upright as they could muster as the curtains rose and the dialogue began. Other audience members were understandably put out by the streams of late incomers and several loud “SHHHHHH” noises and “Sit down already” comments diluted out the speeches from the stage. However, as expected they eventually sat their bums down and the play really began for us all.

“Nosh, nosh, chomp, chomp” (see Youtube clip to set the scene: Sat directly behind me, a man and his female companion were tearing some gum to shreds with their gnashers. Always a one to shy away from confrontation, I tried to ignore the incessant, pounding chew sound and listen to the performance. However, I also used my time to consider how best to approach a discussion where I could tell them to “maybe chew a little more subtly?” Of course I decided against any mention of silent munching and persisted, at some points cupping my hands around my ears in a way that might enable me to only hear sound directed towards my face.

Then the bag of a non-chewing madam, sat on Chewy’s other side, started to call her. The phone ring was loud and close by, as Brian Cox announced crucial plot twists all I could hear was a Michael Jackson ring tone and a slow fumbling and rustling of bags as she muttered/spoke at normal volume “I switched that off” Yes dear it is DEFINITELY on silent.

So far I have being visually and audibly impaired so I was thinking to just grin and bear it would be best. And then the coughing began. (No exaggeration is being employed here for dramatic effect). My direct neighbour, who possibly should have been admitted to hospital for fear of an untimely death had started to cough. The most unhealthy cough imaginable, and I would have been more concerned if it was not for Keifer Sutherland relaying an important message about the relationship between himself and his brother. Luckily she too considered her coughing to be excessive and so moved away for the first half at least.

Not enamoured by the play, and less than delighted by the rude crowd I did come out of the theatre on West 45th Street a little worse for wear. Offended on all sides by the racist and bigoted content of these rough and tough man chats and irritated that the audience seemed to laugh sincerely at all the most objectionable dialogue I was quite despairing of my fellow man and indeed of the Broadway crowd.

I may need to attend some sort of meditation session pre-Broadway next time. Or maybe I should have just stuck with the neighbouring piece over the road. Mr Mark Rylance in “Jerusalem”. No amount of chewing would have disrupted my happiness to see that genius again.


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