I can't help myself: almost every time I walk through the lobbies and entryways of Lincoln Center Theater during or after performances I hear audience members talking about what they've just seen. I recently reported on some of these conversations as they related to South Pacific. In the interest of equal time, here is some of what I've overheard from theatergoers at the Mitzi Newhouse about The New Century.
Woman in Red Dress: "I think Linda Lavin was right to go blonde for this play. Blonde is always more flattering for women at a certain point."
Man in Blue Suit: "My aunt Julie recently went the other direction: her hairdresser dyed her hair a super-dark shade he calls 'Midnight Passion.' " But her husband doesn't like it."
Woman: "What does her husband call it?"
Man: "Shoe-Polish Supreme."
* * *
Tall Woman: "You know those toilet-paper-roll cases that Jayne Houdyshell's character talks about?"
Taller Woman: "Yes."
Tall Woman: "My sister once made me one of those."
Taller Woman: "How horrible. Did you throw it out?"
Tall Woman: "No, I used it in my guest bathroom."
Taller Woman: "Really?"
Tall Woman: "Yes. And now every person who comes to visit wants to know where they can buy one."
Taller Woman: "Maybe you should tell Target."
* * *
Husband: "I didn't quite understand it when Linda Lavin's character started leading around the guy who was dressed in leather."
Wife: "What didn't you understand?"
Husband: "I guess I don't understand why somebody would find leather a turn-on."
Wife: "Maybe it reminds them of cops."
Husband: "But cops can arrest you."
Husband: "And cops can put you in handcuffs."
Husband: "And cops can throw you in jail."
Wife: "And you still don't understand?"
* * *
Two theatergoers are talking about the Peter Bartlett character Mr. Charles, currently of Palm Beach.
First Guy: "He's such a stereotype. Nobody in 2008 wears bright-red sports-coats anymore."
Second Guy: "Really?"
First Guy: "I dare you to find one person in this audience who's wearing a color that bright."
At that moment, a theatergoer in a canary-yellow jacket walked through the lobby.
First Guy: "Obviously visiting from Palm Beach."
* * *
Man: "I'm so glad that this show is funny."
Man: "Because the last time I went to the theater it was a play by Samuel Beckett."
Woman: "But Samuel Beckett is a great playwright. You didn't like it?"
Man: "I thought I'd never laugh again."
Brendan Lemon is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com.