I always knew there was a reason why I had never been to the theatre.
That’s right — myself, who lives a mere 25 miles from New York City, has never seen a Broadway play. It’s just not something that enters my consciousness. When me and my friends plan our Friday and Saturday nights, we contemplate what bars we want to go to, what concerts we may see, or what sporting events we’ll watch, or possibly attend.
No one ever says, “Hey man, let’s go get balcony seats to see the Lion King! I heard it’s magical!”
I must say though, I have often wondered why that’s the case. Why do I possess such a lack of interest in Broadway? Or in musicals, altogether? In fact, I even started to think that it was some type of flaw.
Is it because I’m not cultural? Does it make me simple-minded? Or is it the annoying god damn way that “theatre” is so often spelled?
But today I finally realized why I never attend such shows. It has nothing to do with my intelligence, or my cultural preferences.
It’s because I prefer not to be flattened when a theatre roof collapses.
That’s exactly what happened in London this evening, when part of the ceiling of the legendary Apollo Theatre caved in, injuring 81 people and seriously injuring another seven. And it wasn’t just the ceiling that fell, but lights and other equipment too.
Okay, so let me be a little realistic here. This could happen anywhere — an office building, an arena, school, a house, etc. Every now and then, when we’re in a packed building, we can’t help but look up at the ceiling and say, “You know, if this fell right now … that would suck.”
The thought usually vanishes seconds later, because it’s purely hypothetical and borderline absurd. Architects who assemble buildings know what they’re doing. There’s a simple formula in creating a foundation to avoid this type of thing. So there’s no need to live in constant fear of roofs caving in on us.
But maybe, maybe, my inner subconscious said, “If it were to happen .. I’d rather it be in a sporting arena, or in my own home. If I’m going to die or become seriously injured from a roof collapse, I am not going down in a freaking theatre.”
Especially since most theatres are pretty old, like the Apollo Theatre, which was built in 1901.
Amazingly, 720 people were in the audience at the time of the collapse, and less than 15 percent of them got hurt. Also, the show they were seeing was “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” an adaptation of a young adult mystery novel about a child with Attention Deficit Disorder — and a book I have actually read.
If that’s not a sign to stay away from the theatre forever, I don’t know what is.
You’d never hear about anything like this happening at a bar. And this is just another example of why it pays to frequent your nearest tavern rather than spend a night seeing a live show.
For once — and probably the only time ever — a lack of appreciation for finer art, drama and showmanship saved lives.
At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.