Shrek: The Musical - Blinded by the Lights

The lights went down; the theater was dark. Shrek: The Musical was starting at the Hobby Center last night. And something kept flashing to the left of my seat, right beyond where my husband sat.

We'd already had all the usual pre-show warnings about "open your wrapped candies now," so the crinkle sound didn't drive people mad (one of my fondest memories at the Alley Theatre in the last season was the look dramaturg Mark Bly gave a woman two rows behind him who was loudly violating this prohibition while he was carefully making notes on the performance.)

The other as-usuals had been covered as well: Shut off our cell phones and don't take any photographs. But I was sure someone right next to us was ignoring that; the light was so bright. It would disappear for a while, then flash rapidly again. Donkey wasn't the only ass on the premises.

Turned out, none of the above. I now have a new annoyance to add to the please-don't-cause-it's-really-distracting-for-theater-goers list.

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Kids' shoes with flashing lights in the heels.

Every time one or the other of the kids would jiggle or swing his feet or just move, it would send showers of light rays upwards and out.

Short of adopting a McDonald's confiscate-your-kids'-shoes policy before they go out on the playground, I don't know how Hobby could deal with this. It would make an interesting addition to the pre-show announcements: Please turn off your shoes.

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