The Sat Mat Scene

Shyko Amos and Joe Tippett in Familiar at the Yale Rep. Photo by  Joan Marcus.
Shyko Amos and Joe Tippett in Familiar at the Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus.

I don’t experience the Sat. mat. scene too often. Those performances are a different world from opening nights. The house for Familiar on Saturday Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. was nearly full, and you could tell that there had been any real papering (free tix) or even large group sales. The range in ages, dress styles and cultures seemed as broad as one can get at theater performances these days—so broad, I expect, as to be envied by other regional theaters, whose own matinees are overwhelmed by an elderly demographic.

The intermission was crazy casual. A young man sat down at the piano in the downstairs lobby (where the complimentary Willoughby’s coffee is dispense, and where wine and cookies are sold). He began to play, confidently and beautifully, even though there was already music being piped into the room over the PA.

There was also the jublation of being in a big audience at a time when so many folks were cancelling engagements and staying home. We’d had snow during that week and would be pummeled again that very weekend. There’s a shared sense of accomplishment to theatergoing when it’s being done against the odds. For a new play. On a heavy topical issue.  In a blizzardy February. At a regional theater which only runs plays for barely three weeks now, less than two dozen performances total, with no Sunday performances at all.

Here’s to more weekend matinees.