The fourth wall
In theater, I never cared for the cast breaking the fourth wall. Like movies in which the characters turn to the camera and say things, I find myself distracted, and begin to think about other real-world bothers like where I put my dry cleaning ticket, and whether two hours and fifteen minutes in the parking meter is cutting it too close.
Real life, however, also offers fourth wall-breaking moments, and in those cases I am overjoyed to see it happen.
Point in case: At the airport today, there was a kiosk run by a credit card company promoting the Southwest Airlines Visa Card. Sign up! Get a free gift! “Good morning!” said Ron, a man of color in Armani glasses. “Sign up and get a free gift? No? Have a safe flight!”
(DORA, also in a Southwest polo shirt, enters.)
Good morning, Ron. I spoke this morning with the regional manager, and she wants to make sure that you’re not offering free flights with the credit card sign-up.
Now, why the hell would she say that? I say the same thing everybody else says. “Sign up and get a free gift.” I never say anything about free flights.
She just wants to make sure. She’s received complaints.
I got the same damn training as everybody else. I say the same goddamn thing as everybody else, to everybody I see.
(RON points to various people in the audience.)
I say it to that guy in the chair, and that woman over there, and that woman walking down the hall. “Sign up and get a free gift.” Nothing ‘bout no free flights.
Ron, you’re being loud.
Don’t you fuckin’ tell me that I’m being loud! It’s the way I talk, especially when I’m pissed off! I signed twenty of these damn things yesterday!
(He turns to a PASSERBY, his voice becoming friendly and quiet)
Good morning, ma’am – sign up and get a free…
(She walks past without looking. He yells after her.)
Have a good flight, then!
(He turns back to DORA.)
Don’t anybody fuckin’ tell me how to do my job, like I don’t know what I’m doin’.
Anyway, in the above example, I was the guy in the chair who Ron points to. What a delight it was to be in the audience, drinking my coffee and eating my Egg McMuffin!