To the editor of THE EAGLE:
The opera "Cosi Fan Tutti" is always a joyful experience, even in HD. Unfortunately, it was spoiled for a whole row of spectators at the Beacon Theater on April 26.
An arrogant, assistant manager who shall remain nameless, though I have his card, patrolled the aisles searching for any food that was brought into the theater, either in our hands, pockets or handbags. For many, it felt like a personal assault. Next to me was a woman, in her 80s, taking the last bite out of her sandwich. He demanded what was left and trembling, she gave it to him.
I had opened my handbag to take out a pencil because I was writing up the opera for my university newspaper. This self-appointed policeman, saw a pear in my handbag and insisted that I give it to him. I explained that I would not eat it. He continued to harass me and others in the row. I didn’t want to continue to argue because it would have held up the showing of the film.
That morning, I had hosted a large meeting on ageism at my home in Lenox. Since most of the people attending the opera on Saturday were seniors, the outrageous harassment was particularly poignant.
We all understand the marketing value of "requesting" that you buy your food at the theater. But no one can condone a search that violates one’s personal space. (See the U.S. Constitution) The Beacon Theater has lost at least the 10 customers in my row.
Personally, I, too, will never again enter the theater and will share this experience with many people. Good will and graciousness is what brings so many to Berkshires. This arrogant behavior mars Pittsfield’s reputation as a place of civility.
DR. KAREL ROSE
The writer is professor at the Brooklyn College School of Education, English Department, and of women’s studies, The City University of New York doctoral program, graduate center.