Only then I heard it. "Shhhh!!"
Students were complaining about it on the way home as well. "I wish those kids hadn't been laughing. That was so disrespectful!"
"Why?" I asked.
"Because it's rude to laugh."
". . . it was funny."
The same thing happened to me several years ago at a BYU production of (I think) Two Gentlemen of Verona. Something happened (probably a crude joke) and I laughed.
It was like I'd laughed in the middle of a wedding. "SHH!" Heads flipped in my direction and I was suddenly some kind of outcast.
"It was funny." I wanted to say. "Just because you didn't get the gag, doesn't mean I can't laugh about it!"
I feel like people in my neck of the woods need a lesson on how to behave in the theater. Growing up it was around hicks coming to the city in their ripped jeans and Budweiser t-shirts. Here it's that theater is this "religious" experience, and in our religious vocabulary, that means we have to sit down and shut up and be sacred.
I don't like that. I don't think reverence is exclusively linked with silence. I think it's reverent and honorable to laugh when things are funny. To sing with vigor. (So help me I wish we had something more like a Southern Baptist gospel choir . . . )
There's a time and a place for respectful silence. But I wish these kids hadn't been shut down and yelled at for thinking things were funny when they were, and the world would be a better place if people didn't treat the Bard like the Bible, and I think it would be awesome of people didn't treat the Bible with kid gloves. We can treat sacred things sacredly without anesthetizing emotional response.
(Or forcing it, I suppose. I don't understand the "I'm going to go to this movie and I'M GOING TO CRY SO HARD!!!" enthusiasm either.)