We Who Sit in Darkness:
The Broadway Audience at the Play
If you love the theater; if you have at least once in the darkness of a theater known what it is to have your mind changed and your senses aroused by that dialogue between man and man on the stage which can be reproduced and enlarged in the inimitable immediate bond between actor and audience, then between members of the audience—the chief impression that a round of Broadway play going leaves on you is the overwhelming, secret, embarrassed apathy of the audience itself. Despite the great crowds jostling each other to get into the latest hits, the social éclat that now belongs to anyone who has managed to see South Pacific or Kiss Me Kate, despite the pure delight of anticipation that will seize any audience as the lights are lowered and the curtain begins slowly to rise, the atmosphere at a Broadway play these days is so inherently dull, distracted, so unrelieved by anything the audience actually expects of the play itself, that if you care for the theater you do not know whether to be outraged more at the theater owners, producers, playwrights, and critics for joining in such a cheat, or at the audience for being such sheep.
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