For there be of them that will themselves laugh to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh, too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be considered.

We were playing an auditorium full with over a thousand young people in it. I was playing Peter Quince with a group of very funny and delightfully anarchic mechanicals. For months, they’d been delighting audiences around the country with their antics. It fell to me to rein them in, to keep the show from going off the rails. I mostly managed it until this teeming auditorium. This time, I couldn’t make myself heard over the roars of a thousand people. I couldn’t pull it back. We tried to proceed but the farther we’d get, the more antics emerged and the louder and more unmanageable the audience became. I wanted to cry. I might have. And I felt like such a killjoy but I had in mind the “necessary question of the play” and while no one heard me say the lines, I said them anyway. And eventually the play proceeded.

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