Although the headline of Kirsten Greenidge’s thoughtful but disturbing June 25 op-ed pleaded for a theater “audience that cares,” I am not — caring though I may be — who she has in mind.
As a member of the gray-haired demographic she sees too much of, I, too, look around the theater and notice who isn’t there. It saddens me to see how poorly the audience reflects the diversity of our city.
However, my dismay with her piece grows from her disrespect for the audience she has. I, too, have been known to attend theater after having a nice dinner out, maybe with a glass of Malbec. My husband and I usually wear clothes that respect the fact that we’ve come to see someone’s art. And we have had the experience of saying, after the curtain falls, “Eh” or syllables to that effect.
We have also sat too mesmerized to move, stunned by performances that reminded us why people have gone to the theater for centuries.
People come to a play with individual experiences, expectations, levels of openness and understanding, each one entitled to feel as he or she does. One of the things many members of my generation get right is the central place of art, including theater, in our lives.
So, I would ask Greenidge to be glad that so many theater critics love her play, but accept that not every audience member will, whatever the person’s age or ethnicity.
Instead of impugning the audience members she has, she might try to help figure out how to attract the ones she doesn’t have. I miss them, too.