MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Guthrie Theater brought back a holiday tradition this week after keeping its stage dark during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the opening night audience, the show was delayed just a little bit longer.
A video posted on Twitter has gone viral overnight, showing a woman standing and screaming at other people in the audience. The tweet, posted by a user named Jake, has been seen more than 24,000 times as of 10 a.m. Saturday.
First play at the Guthrie in over 600 days. Still hasn’t been kicked out. pic.twitter.com/II4d2XJKjs
— Jake (@ekajmw) November 13, 2021
In the video, the woman is seen yelling at other people standing near her to “get out of my country.” According to another audience member’s report, the incident happened “right as the lights were dimming to start the show and then we all heard yelling and it went crazy for like 40 minutes after that.”
We weren’t exactly sure how it started (maybe staff asking her to wear her mask), but it was right as the lights were dimming to start the show and then we all heard yelling and it went crazy for like 40 minutes after that
— Maddie Moore (@m22046770) November 13, 2021
“You ruined my night at the play,” she yelled at someone in front of her. “Yours is gonna suck!”
Other audience members could be heard booing and catcalling the woman as she continued screaming, calling the proceedings a mockery of Shakespeare and yelling “Macbeth! Macbeth!” as if attempting to invoke a curse on the theater. In between these outbursts, she also can be heard calling the rest of the audience “losers.”
Another Twitter user reported: “Two people in front of her took a selfie during the curtain speech (the director told people to put phones away, and keep masks on). This made her very angry and she decided to take her mask off because they were also ‘breaking the rules.'”
Two people in front of her took a selfie during the curtain speech (the director told people to put phones away, and keep masks on). This made her very angry and she decided to take her mask off because they were also “breaking the rules”
— Flo (@IsaBSACameroon) November 13, 2021
That user also reported that her friend, who was in front of the woman, “told her to put her mask back on and she spat on him.”
I am so shaken by what happened before A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theatre tonight. A woman who was clearly mentally unwell threw a fit about mask and was screaming and yelling racist slurs that delayed the show about a half hour.
— Jared Fessler (@Jfess059) November 13, 2021
As the video gathered attention on Twitter, some users offered lighter takes. Remarked one, “I don’t recall Mrs. Fezziwig using this kind of language in the original script!”
The Guthrie’s managing director issued the following statement:
“On November 12, the Guthrie Theater’s performance of A Christmas Carol was delayed due to a disruptive patron in the audience. Members of Audience Services and our Health, Safety and Security Team responded immediately and asked the individual to exit the auditorium. After approximately 30 minutes, the person was peacefully removed by police and the performance continued. The staff who responded to the incident believe it was an unplanned, isolated event, and unrelated to any safety protocols the theater has required of its audience members. We greatly appreciate the care our staff demonstrated in handling the situation, and thank the audience for their the patience and support.”
The Guthrie said patrons who did not stay for the performance after the incident were offered refunds or the chance to exchange their tickets.