I was recently seated at the theater, about to see a show, when down the aisle came another patron, who stopped to greet me.
“Thank you for liking my play,” he said, graciously.
Oh! Um. Well. Er. Um. Huh?
My mind went blanker than my dance card at a German beer hall.
I could have gone the phony “My pleasure, dear sir” route and tried to figure it out later, but dissembling isn’t my best acting trait.
“What play was that?” I asked, with a dire sense of honesty.
“Other Desert Cities,” he replied, plainly.
Oh! Only the play of the year! Written by the person standing in front of me — Jon Robin Baitz, world-famous for dramaturgy as well as for creating TV’s Brothers & Sisters!
I wanted to crawl under the nearest boulder and die, but to be honest, he was wearing a beret and scarf and I hadn’t seen him in a while.
“Oh, yes,” I chirped to cover my tracks. “Congrats on the play. I saw it the night of that blizzard and …”
But I’d lost him.
Baitz was already talking to another critic — who totally recognized him!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 16, 2011