You Had to Be There

There was a small moment during Trinity’s matinee of The Odd Couple this past Sunday that sums up live theater: A pickle, slapped off an actor’s plate during a poker game, flew out to the front row and hit a lady in the shoulder. The audience shrieked (did that just happen?) before erupting into laughter, while equally stunned actor Joe Wilson, Jr., clutching his empty plate, covered his mouth with a napkin and tried for all his life not to crack up. He didn’t really succeed, and neither did his cast-mates, to the total delight of the audience. As for the pickle victim, a neatly dressed woman with white hair perfectly pinned into an updo, she gamely rose from her seat, scooped the pickle from the floor, and — to wild applause from the audience — tossed it back at the actors, where it almost landed right back in Wilson’s plate.

It took a good minute or so to get everyone settled down and focused back on the scripted comedy (and no one better to do this than Fred Sullivan, Jr.). Maybe an errant pickle wouldn’t have induced such fits if the show hadn’t already had us all on a comic high. Still, you have to love live theater. You never what will happen, and what happens might not even involve extraordinary theatrics. It could be something as simple as a sandwich condiment, or you in the audience, that steals the show.

(Go! The Odd Couple is running until May 9, and it’s as much fun as you’ll want it to be. Get tix here.)