Ambulance-Chasing On Broadway

Ken AshfordTheatreLeave a Comment

Apparently, people want to see "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark" for the same reason people want to see Formula One Racing — to see human crashing and tragedy.  So discovers the New Yorker:

At a preview last Tuesday, members of the audience seemed conflicted. Outside the theatre, Alaina Schwartz, aged twelve, who had come from Long Island with her family, was asked if she hoped to see someone fall. “Yes! Yes!” she said. “I’m weird about that stuff. Like, there was a roller coaster and it kind of fell backwards, and I was kind of wishing that I was on that roller coaster at the time that it fell.” Her father, Steven, looked concerned.

“I hope somebody falls but they’re O.K.,” her sister Alexa, fourteen, said.

A third sister, Stephanie, nine, objected: “If something goes wrong, that’s bad luck for us!”

In the lobby, Allie Bauer, a Yale junior, said, “There’s a certain allure to this being a very dangerous performance.”

“You’re more evil than I am,” her classmate Will Moritz said, eating a Twizzler. After thinking it over, he added, “If I could see someone fall from the rafters but not go to the hospital—just magically get up—then I’d be down.” (He’s majoring in psychology.)

Matt Clements, a cameraman from midtown, had come to the show with his girlfriend. “She wants to see blood,” he explained.

The girlfriend, a lawyer named Carol Barbeiro, didn’t deny it. “It’s like Formula One,” she reasoned. “You want to see the car crash.” She added, “We like to go to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice-skaters fall.”

Possibly to Barbeiro’s dismay, the show went off that night without a hitch. (To say nothing of its dramaturgical flaws: in an early review, a Bloomberg critic called it “an unfocused hodge-podge of storytelling, myth-making and spectacle that comes up short in every department.”) During the flying sequences, the occupant of seat E114 wasn’t even tempted to put on the hard hat he had packed in case of emergency. But he was nevertheless troubled.

Read the whole thing.