It was an awkward moment for both the audience and performing actors this week during a matinee performance of the Tony Award winning revival of the The King & I.
Kelvin Moon Loh who’s part of the ensemble cast wrote about it on his Facebook page.
We’ve all had those moments on an airplane or in the middle of a movie or show when a child in the audience disrupts the moment.
It happened at Wednesday’s performance of the Broadway hit. This time the child happened to be autistic.
The audience soon turned against the mother.
“His voice pierced the theater,” Loh wrote. “The audience started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed. I heard murmurs of “why would you bring a child like that to the theater?”. This is wrong. Plainly wrong.”
It wasn’t as if the mother wasn’t trying to calm her boy, but he wouldn’t cooperate. He would not get up and leave. Instead Loh says the boy hung tightly to the railing.
This happened during one of the most intense moments of the show, the whipping scene.
People paid good money to see this show. Most likely paid in the triple digits for a single ticket.
“I could not look away,” Loh continued. “I wanted to scream and stop the show and say- “EVERYONE RELAX. SHE IS TRYING. CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE IS TRYING???!!!!”
“I ask you- when did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?”
Wow, that’s truly commendable of Loh to stand up for the child, to stand up for the mother who no doubt herself was embarrassed and terrified.
That mother deserved a day of enjoyment just like everyone else in the audience. She paid the same price for the ticket as those around her. Her son too deserved the experience of the theater. It didnt’ turn out the way the mom would have liked. But for as much as everyone in the audience was inconvenienced and disturbed, multiply that by 10 if not a 100 times for the mother.
Loh deserves a standing ovation for what he said. More importantly, so does the mother.