The time has come for me to begin sharing some of the remarks I've heard from audience members around the Vivian Beaumont Theater and its environs (lobby, outdoor plaza). I've been collecting these comments since the first preview of War Horse, in mid-March.
Middle-Aged Man: It's been a while since I've seen animals on a stage. You?
Middle-Aged Woman: I took my daughter to see The Lion King at Christmas. As for real animals, the last time was an Aida in Europe.
Middle-Aged Man: That's the original war horse.
* * *
Girl Exiting The Theater With Parents: Mommy, those horses were awesome. Can I have riding lessons now?
Girl's Mother: Wouldn't you rather have a War Horse tee-shirt instead?
Girl: No, I want riding lessons!
Girl's Mother To Girl's Father: Why is it that whenever we go to a Broadway show, the ticket cost is the least of it?
* * *
Tall Man: I hear that Steven Spielberg has made a movie of this play.
Short Woman: Not of the play. It's of the book that the play is based on.
Tall Man: Is it a kind of sequel to Saving Private Ryan?
Short Woman: No. This is the First World War. So it's more like a prequel toSaving Private Ryan.
Tall Man: Saving Private Ryan's Father.
* * *
Woman In Lobby: I'm so glad we're seeing a musical tonight.
Her Friend: War Horse is not a musical. It's a play.
Woman in Lobby: Everything else I've seen in the Beaumont has been a musical.
Her Friend: Sometimes, the Beaumont has plays.
Woman in Lobby: But War Horse looks like a big show - like a musical.
Her Friend: It's a Play That Thinks It's A Musical.
Woman In Lobby: I once had a cat that thought it was a dog.
Her Friend: Exactly.
* * *
Teenage Boy Leaving The Theater: Dad, I never saw you cry at a play before.
Dad: I wasn't crying. Those were my allergies.
Teenage Boy: C'mon, Dad. Man up. Those were tears.
Dad: Maybe one or two.
Teenage Boy: More like four or five.
* * *
Girl: Mommy, when we went to the circus, a clown followed the horses and shoveled up the stuff left behind.
Mother: Yes, I remember.
Girl: Why aren't there any shovelers here?
Mother: Because these horses don't make a mess.
Girl: Because they're puppets?
Girl: Can we exchange our dog for a puppet?
* * *
Wife: I don't mind that there are gunshots in this production. I'm just happy there aren't any strobe lights.
Husband: The play takes place almost a hundred years ago. They didn't have strobe lights then.
Wife: They didn't have air-conditioning either, but I'm glad they have it in this theater.
Brendan Lemon is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com.