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Outside the pit entrance

Outside the pit entrance.jpg Ladies headThumbnailsA first nightLadies headThumbnailsA first nightLadies headThumbnailsA first night

Nowhere is caste more noticeable than in a London audience. A little board fence divides the ground-floor of a theatre into orchestra stalls and a pit. It would cost you ten shillings less and your social position to sit on the wrong side of this fence. It does not follow that sitting on the right side of it assures your position. But it does give you an uninterrupted view of the stage. No hats are worn, and that alone makes it worth extra charge. There is, in most of the theatres, room for your knees, and in some, additional room for the man who goes out between the acts, and people who arrive after the curtain is up. A London audience is brilliant. Everyone is in evening dress, and the audience is often more entertaining than the play. This is especially true on a first night. At such times the pit is watched most anxiously by the management, as the success of the piece generally depends on their verdict. It has often occurred to me, when I have seen them on a stormy night forming a line on the pavement outside the pit entrance, taking it all seriously enough to stand there for hours before the doors were opened, that by letting them inside the management might improve their spirits, and they in their turn might be more gentle.

Author
London as seen by Charles Dana Gibson
by Charles Dana Gibson
Published 1897
Available as a free download from gutenberg.org
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