Christopher Isherwood once wrote, "I am a camera." The other day as I walked through the various levels of Lincoln Center Theater, I could have said, "I am a tape recorder." For as I made my way through the halls and rooms and dens and warrens, making note of some of the snippets of conversation and bits of mini-dialogue I heard from the cast and crew, I was aware of the same principle I notice as I walk the streets of New York: randomness. I reproduce the sounds below in the exact order I encountered them. I didn't record a literal soundtrack because I believe in providing the artists with a modicum of anonymity.
"Last night, I got to the next level playing 'Angry Birds.'"
"All right, who took my tuna salad out of the refrigerator?"
"If this keeps up, I'll have to start smoking again."
"I didn't know you used to smoke."
"Is it really three more weeks before the new 'Game of Thrones' season starts?"
"The real trench warfare is taking the F train in from Queens on the weekend."
"What happened to the pen on the sign-in sheet?"
"My mother just got her fourth cat. I'm getting concerned."
"I couldn't tell if last night's audience was really attentive or really sleepy. It was only the curtain call that made me realize it was option number one."
"Have you ever seen 'Caddyshack'?"
"I always wear the same size boots onstage. So why were they pinching last night?"
"Women may not have seen combat during World War One. But women see combat every night in 'War Horse.'"
"I think that organic milk is highly overrated."
"You can't buy a dog from a breeder. You have to adopt!"
"I wish Whole Foods were closer to the theater."
"Why are you complaining? I live in Brooklyn, and there are no Whole Foods in the entire borough!"
"If I win the lotto I'll still keep my job here."
"Have you met my wife?"
"Has Lindsay Lohan ever done theater?"
"This is the best cast I've ever been part of. Really."
"You're an actor in New York and you live alone?"
(laughing) "Brendan, if what I just said makes the blog I'll put a bounty on your head."
Brendan Lemon is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com.