La Satira News Service
Authorities tonight say they are considering whether they will file charges against several senior citizens who allegedly assaulted participants in a performance of King Lear at the West Punxsutawney Retirement Home.
“Every actor wants their performance to resonate with their audience,” said Margaret de Vere, the artistic director for the Punxsutawney Players, an acting troupe based at the nearby University of Punxsutawney that specializes in bringing theatrical performances to unconventional venues. “Evidently we stumbled onto an undamped sinusoid.”
According to witnesses, the trouble started during the second act, when a small number of audience members began to heckle the actresses playing the parts of Goneril and Regan, the title character’s daughters. As the behavior of Lear’s “daughters” deteriorated, so did the behavior of the crowd, which started throwing bits of food, pill bottles, reading glasses, and even a couple of partials. The unrest continued to spread, and the actors were obliged to exit as the crowd threatened to rush the stage.
“I have no idea what they were thinking, bringing in this sort of subject matter,” said Dr. Elizabeth Woodville, the director of the facility. “While most of our residents are on quite good terms with their families, we’ll thank our visitors for not stoking any embers of inter-generational angst that might be lying around.”
“Somebody really should have seen this coming,” said Richard Gloucester, the local constable who was called in to deal with the situation. “This may not be on par with shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater, but it’s up there.” Constable Gloucester said that the circumstances of the aggressors were being taken into consideration.
The cost of the performance was covered by Shoddi, Smarmy, Rude and Associates, a nearby law firm that specializes in estate management. A spokesman for the firm refused to comment, apart from insisting that the firm’s only interest in underwriting the event was the desire to provide a service to the residents.
Dr. Woodville indicated that the Players will not be invited back for future performances at the home. Any future touring performers will be subject to vetting for suitability by the staff before they are allowed to perform at the home.
“I don’t think they’ll have to worry on our account any further,” said Ms. de Vere, the Punxsutawney Players representative. “I think after this we’ll stick to doing less controversial stuff, like Julius Caesar or Midsummer Night’s Dream. Even Titus Andronicus might be less traumatizing than this has been,” she added.
The un-invitation from the West Punxsutawney Retirement Home is a second set-back for the Punxsutawney Players, after the cancellation of an engagement with the Bandwagon Society‘s annual charity fundraiser event. At last year’s event, the Players presented Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, in which a wealthy man ruins himself through unwise generosity. The Players were asked not to return after the performance was linked to an 85% drop in pledges and donations.