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Backwards Hat

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.)

DORA

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.

RON

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.

DORA

She just wants to make sure.  She’s received complaints.

RON

(louder)

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.

DORA

Ron, you’re being loud.

RON

(now screaming)

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!

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Backwards Hat

December 2010

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