When you are doing something you really love, you’re so deep into that and you don’t even think of it as you just do it and everything makes perfect sense.
But on the other hand, if you’re being interrupted by someone when you’re talking, you’ll go crazy in a second. And you’ll really hard to catch the flow you used to be seconds ago.
We can accept it by understanding that it is life or we can just go furious about it when it happens.
Actor Kelvin Moon Loh faced with a similar situation recently. While performing on Broadway, ‘The King and I’, an autistic boy from the crowd interrupted him by screaming in the middle of the show.
Everybody in the show gave their attention to that noise, and they were not pleased. But, Kelvin handled the situation very wisely.
Kelvin had every right to rebuke the person responsible. But this happened with a child with autism.
During a whipping scene that usually evokes a strong emotional reaction, the boy screamed out loudly and his mother took him out of the theater.
Some of the guests were really displeased by the situation as they had paid 6,000$ to attend the show.
Kelvin wrote a letter after the performance after reaching a broader audience. He posted it on social media, and it’s one of the best chose he has made:
He wrote, “I am angry and sad.”
“Just got off stage from today’s matinee and yes, something happened. Someone brought their autistic child to the theater.
That being said- this post won’t go the way you think it will.
You think I will admonish that mother for bringing a child who yelped during a quiet moment in the show. You think I will herald an audience that yelled at this mother for bringing their child to the theater. You think that I will have sympathy for my own company whose performances were disturbed from a foreign sound coming from in front of them.
No. Instead, I ask you- when did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?
The theater to me has always been a way to examine/dissect the human experience and present it back to ourselves. Today, something very real was happening in the seats and, yes, it interrupted the fantasy that was supposed to be this matinee but ultimately theater is created to bring people together, not just for entertainment, but to enhance our lives when we walk out the door again.
It so happened that during “the whipping scene”, a rather intense moment in the second act, a child was heard yelping in the audience. It sounded like terror. Not more than one week earlier, during the same scene, a young girl in the front row- seemingly not autistic screamed and cried loudly and no one said anything then. How is this any different?
His voice pierced the theater. The audience started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed. I heard murmurs of “why would you bring a child like that to the theater?”. This is wrong. Plainly wrong.
Because what you didn’t see was a mother desperately trying to do just that. But her son was not compliant. What they didn’t see was a mother desperately pleading with her child as he gripped the railing refusing- yelping more out of defiance. I could not look away. I wanted to scream and stop the show and say- “EVERYONE RELAX. SHE IS TRYING. CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE IS TRYING???!!!!” I will gladly do the entire performance over again. Refund any ticket because-
For her to bring her child to the theater is brave. You don’t know what her life is like. Perhaps, they have great days where he can sit still and not make much noise because this is a rare occurrence. Perhaps she chooses to no longer live in fear and refuses to compromise the experience of her child. Maybe she scouted the aisle seat for a very popular show in case such an episode would occur. She paid the same price to see the show as you did for her family. Her plan, as was yours, was to have an enjoyable afternoon at the theater and slowly her worst fears came true.
I leave you with this- Shows that have special performances for autistic audiences should be commended for their efforts to make theater inclusive for all audiences. I believe like Joseph Papp that theater is created for all people. I stand by that and also for once, I am in a show that is completely FAMILY FRIENDLY. The King and I on Broadway is just that- FAMILY FRIENDLY- and that means entire families- with disabilities or not. Not only for special performances but for all performances. A night at the theater is special on any night you get to go.
And no, I don’t care how much you spent on the tickets.”
Nowadays people easily forget the basic human principles as there are many distractions from social media and advertisements. In every year, our attention is shortening and in every day our nerves and patience are getting weaker. Anger can easily dictate an entire life of misery if we don’t control ourselves.
These tiny moments will craft our lives at the end.
You don’t think about how you kicked up a fuss over a child with disabilities acting out of the ordinary when you get old and grey. But you also can look back with understanding and compassion.
The letter proves that Kelvin is truly a hero. Share this all-around to know how kind he is.