I took my mother to see Burn the Floor yesterday afternoon. We had a lot of fun watching 20 mega-talented dancers swing their hips to some classic numbers. Nothing revolutionary, just glittery, guilt-free entertainment.
But the real show was occuring in the aisles.
While taking our seats in the right-hand mezzanine, I couldn’t help but notice an usher who was arguing with an elderly couple. What I gathered was the usher asked the couple if they needed help finding their seats, and the wife said, “I think we’ll figure it out,” to which the usher, quite literally, yelled back, “No, ma’am, I think we should figure it out NOW so we don’t have problems LATER!”
They ignored her and took their seats, which was met by an exasperated sigh from the annoyed usher.
Then, at intermission, she noticed that another couple behind us had moved over a few seats to get a better view (while the house was full, there were several empty seats near the aisles). She marched on down to the couple and sternly told them they must go back to their assigned seats. I felt embarrassed for them.
During the second act, my mother became the next victim. She wanted to follow along in the program to see what numbers the dancers were doing, so she took out her phone and inconspicuously held it in upside-down in her lap so the glow was only on her program — just for a few seconds.
And guess who ran over and loudly demanded she turn off her phone? Yup.
Now, let me be clear in saying I don’t necessarily agree that my mom should have used her phone as a program flashlight — I know I’d be annoyed if it were some woman in front of me doing the same thing. But the way the usher reacted was … excessive and aggressive. As were all her actions yesterday afternoon.
However, everything she did was probably by-the-book. And I applaud the fact that there are still people who take their jobs seriously — especially in the theatre where people seem to treat the experience like they’re watching a movie in the family den.
So: I’m torn. Was this woman being a nazi usher, or just doing her job? Have you had any experiences with a particularly overbearing usher?