The audience clapped, the director glowed, the cast bowed. Then one man stood up.
“I notice you didn’t get a standing ovation,” he pointed out. The theater, which had been working up that low after-show buzz, quieted immediately.
“Excuse me?!” exclaimed the director.
“You may have done better if you hadn’t cut the chase after the jewelry heist,” the man continued. The rest of the audience shifted uncomfortably in their seats. The director looked out at them helplessly. Could that be true? “Or maybe,” he swept an arm at his fellow theater enthusiasts, “they would have liked it more if the hero had sent the villain to jail instead of letting him fall to his death, like in the original script.” People all across the theater began to murmur, and it sounded to the director as though they were agreeing with the rude criticism of the objector. And there was nothing the director hated more than criticism.
“It was such a clunky play, it had to be cut in places!” he shouted from the stage. The murmurs got louder, and the director felt his face flush with embarrassment; what if people thought he was just making excuses? He knew he was making a fool of himself, but he was too angry to stop. So before the man could make his way to the end of the row, he yelled, “What do you know, anyway?”
The man stopped in the middle of the aisle and looked back up at the stage. “Oh, not much,” he replied, “I’m the playwright.”