It’s the golden rule of theater-going for the tech age: TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE! An audience member attending a play in New York City recently had a rude awakening to her own rudeness when a theater critic snatched her phone and chucked it.
According to The Gothamist, Kevin Williamson, a well-known and respected critic, author, and writer for The National Review, was attending a performance of “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812,” a new cabaret-type musical based on a part of Tolsoy’s novel “War and Peace.” The audience sat around small tables where they were served beverages and food between acts. After being distracted by chatty audience members during the first act, Williamson says a woman during the second act blatantly refused to put down her phone.
As the theater had notified all tables that photography and cell phone use were strictly prohibited, Williamson asked her to put the phone away.
“It looked like she was Googling or something,” Williamson told The Gothamist. “So I leaned over and told her it was distracting and told her to put it away. She responded, ‘So don’t look.'”
Patience worn-thin, Williamson says that he snidely asked her if, “there had been a special exemption for her about not using her phone during the play. She told me to mind my own business, and so I took the phone out of her hands. I meant to throw it out the side door, but it hit some curtains instead. I guess my aim’s not as good as it should be.”
The woman slapped Williamson, went in search of her phone, and when she couldn’t find it, she left the to “seek managerial succor,” as Williamson wrote in his Corner blog post. A security manager asked Williamson out into the lobby as the woman wanted to press charges. Night already ruined, Williamson didn’t wait and left the theater with his date.
Williamson is being called a hero for taking a stand against the rudeness of inconsiderate audience members.