Cut to: Pirate Guy in a white tank top, his wild hair in a ponytail, wandering around stage left, crying out, "Stella!" many more times than the script called for and occasionally breaking into exaggerated sobs. He wasn't even bothering to direct his agony toward his partner, the intended focus of the scene. He was just launching his performance out into space. Two girls in the first row were squeezing each other's hands in an effort to contain their laughter. The actor sitting next to me—an older guy who was normally subdued to a fault—actually began laughing so hard he had to bunch his sweater up around his mouth. The pirate's scene partner valiantly tried to bring him around with the smelling salts of actual lines from the script, but he kept yelling over her, "Stella! Stella!" until he went to his knees, covered his face with his hands, cried for a moment, and finished with a final and piercingly wrong "Stella!"
. . .
Jean Shelton did not wait to address the lunatic who lay prostrate before her. "Thomas, or Tommy—I'm sorry—I must ask you—again—what you are trying to accomplish?"