Up close and personal: Tales from sitting on the front row at the theatre
The front row is generally my favourite place to sit at the theatre for several reasons. I'm short so it's often the only place that guarantees an uninterrupted view and I don't like having heads bobbing into my eye line. Being close also means I can see the whites of the actors' eyes, the sweat on their brow, the nervous tremble of their hands but most importantly their facial expressions - if you are sat further back you miss stuff.
And then there are the unexpected incidents that happen when you are sat so close. Stuff like a prop hitting you, landing in your lap or dropping onto the floor by your feet, or the splatter of blood, the flying sand and sugar glass. Then there is the eye contact you make with an actor, an actor squeezing by you to get onto the stage, shaking your hand or saying hello or speaking lines directly to you and an actor falling into your lap when they misjudge the edge of the stage (yep that has happened to me). I've also been blamed by a character when they farted and dragged up on stage to take part.
I watched enviously from row C when Caesar was strangled in an empty seat in the middle of the front row during the Donmar's Julius Caesar.
While most performances go by without anything like this happening, there is always the chance that it might and it becomes a story to add to the story, an experience to add to the experience. I included some recent 'acquisitions' from my front row seats in my new blog banner, it's nice to give them an airing. (Click on the image for a bigger version.)