NEW YORK — The cast of Washington Heights Theatre’s production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night fell victim to a misunderstanding on Sunday when the audience members’ collective determination to return to their vehicles as quickly as possible was mistaken for an enthusiastic standing ovation.
“Did you see the way everyone leapt straight to their feet?” said actor Maria Helstrom, who portrayed recovering morphine addict Mary Tyrone. “A response like that is what makes all those hours of dragging yourself to auditions worthwhile.”
“It was nice, I guess,” said audience member Doris Shapiro as she and her husband Arthur walked hurriedly down 174th Street. “Our dog-walker Stevie did a nice job with the lights—we could see everything the whole time. Of course, we had no idea it would be four hours, so now we’re going to be late for our 5:30 reservation at Outback Steakhouse.”
“We do like the theater in general,” Shapiro continued. “Last year we got tickets for The Lion King and enjoyed it very much. I guess I thought it would be more like that, to be honest.”
Helstrom’s brother-in-law, Hackensack resident William Jacobs, praised her rendition of Mary’s final hallucination scene as “nice” but expressed dismay at the prospect of an extremely slow drive home.
“Beltran hit a walk-off double half an hour ago,” said Jacobs, who spent the second, third and fourth acts listening with one ear to the WFAN gamecast of the Yankees-Blue Jays matchup. “We’ll take the win, obviously, but now the George [Washington Bridge] is going to be a fucking parking lot. Just my luck that the game would go to extra innings because Chapman couldn’t shut the fucking door.”
“Seriously, how the hell do you throw 100+ and then give up three RBIs to their eight and nine hitters? I’d love someone to explain that one to me,” Jacobs added.
At press time, Helstrom’s Facebook status update regarding the performance had received four likes and one “wow.”
Eric Stassen prefers his performances to end in respectful silence.
Image by TEDx Monterey.