By Dave Andrusko
So a local British newspaper calls it “A ‘hard-hitting’ play,” but, geez, enough for a guy to keel over?!
Yup, according to the London Evening Standard, last night at 9:20 pm, to be exact.
Here’s how Matt Watts’ story starts:
The curtain fell halfway through the performance of Dry Land at the Jermyn Street Theatre last night after the man in his 50s collapsed.
The auditorium was evacuated with one audience member dashing into neighbouring Italian restaurant Getti in search of a doctor.
An off-duty nurse from Great Ormond Street Hospital dining at the restaurant gave the casualty first aid as paramedics arrived.
The man collapsed at about 9.20pm shortly after a scene in which the main character Amy, a high school student played by Milly Thomas [words omitted].
Blood spills across the stage as Thomas, who appeared in Downton Abbey, screams and writhes in anguish for several minutes.
What seven words did I omit? Does the name Ruby Rae Spiegel ring a bell? We’ve twice written about the woman Watts describes the “American 22-year-old wunderkind.”
The play’s name is “Dry Land” and, we’re told, it is a “searing portrait of adolescent friendship and resilience through crisis.” I’m sure it is, although the way Spiegel explained the play it is more about the female star athlete taking advantage of the shy awkward nerdy newcomer.
But it is first and foremost about Milly Thomas’ character “who miscarries after taking an abortion pill.”
Of course, it is not a “miscarriage” at all, but rather a Do-It-Yourself, chemically-induced abortion which has become an absolute obsession with the pro-abortion set.
“During the performance a middle-aged man in the audience collapsed just after the depiction on-stage of a self-induced abortion,” a spokesman for the theatre said.
“The man, believed to be in his mid-fifties, keeled forward and his female partner stopped the show. The theatre was evacuated and an ambulance was called.
“After being assessed in the ambulance the man was taken to a nearby hospital.“
So what provoked his response? Watts quotes the Evening Standard Theatre critic Fiona Mountford who said
“There is a lot of stage blood and it’s a very evocative and powerful stuff.
“It’s reasonably graphic. You can see how someone might have that reaction.”
Ah….yes, you could.
Watts tells us this is not the first time medics have been called:
A young female viewer collapsed during its premiere at Yale University in Connecticut and several US theatres subsequently refused to host it.
The Jermyn Street warns ticket-buyers the 90-minute play is not suitable for under 12s and “includes references to and scenes of a sexual or violent nature.”
Spiegel plays the pity/brave artist card. Watts tells us that Spiegel told “What’s On Stage”
“I met with a lot of companies in New York and often they said ‘We love this play but we can’t do it because our audiences would not be OK with this.’
“One company even asked if one of the scenes could be cut. It was the abortion scene, so very pivotal. My philosophy is that I’m trying to show the experience of abortion without shame.”
Of course showing a graphic, brutal, bloody play “without shame” has its own rewards. “It received a five-star review in the New York Times when it premiered in New York,” Watts writes, “and opened at the Jermyn Street Theatre on November 3, running until November 21.”