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Box Office Observations Part I

A half hour before the first couple ambles through the doors of the lobby, I’m there. I am printing their tickets and placing them amongst the sixty or so other names. This is the nightly ritual of a box office worker.

A half hour later, the window is open and Will Call starts. In the lobby, actors furtively skirt up to the window making sure their complementary tickets are waiting for their families. Satisfied, they hurry away to wardrobe and makeup. The house manager appears and re-vanishes, checking all the lights, the lobby music, the cash bar. It is an hour until showtime.

Every five minutes brings a new individual, couple, group, senior, adult, teenager. The show tonight is a Christmas spectacular, innocuous and fun for the whole family, and the audience is comprised of all ages and temperaments and tastes.

A half hour to the show, the rush begins. The line forms and tickets briskly go from my hands to theirs. A mild din has replaced the lobby’s quiet pre-show stillness. Chatter is exchanged over cash bar beer. Intermission wine orders are placed. The house is opened and the scattered cells of patrons meander towards the doors of the theater.

You can feel the impatience of a show about to begin. On both sides of the curtain, everyone waits to get on with it.

From this view, through a metal 2×2 window, one can see the childlike curiosity that will stir in each seat. The audience is here and waiting to be entertained. They want to see a show. They want to be amazed and dazzled and transported from their seats.

To be continued…