The opening-night performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis on Friday was disrupted and delayed for about a half-hour by an audience member.
Video posted to social media showed a woman standing in the theater, yelling and insulting other patrons. At one point in a widely-shared video, she can be heard yelling "get out of my country," which prompted booing from other audience members.
Pioneer Press theater reviewer Dominic P. Papatola, who was in the audience, wrote that the woman “screamed invective and racial epithet at the audience that had nothing to do with masks or vaccines. When theater staff tried to convince her to leave, she hunkered down in her seat. She tore her program into confetti-sized pieces and flung them. Guthrie employees seemed to be working at de-escalation.”
James Haskins, the theater's managing director, said in a statement that "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.”
Haskins wrote that “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 Minneapolis Police Department reported that the woman was asked by officers to leave and did, and “agreed not to return.”
“We greatly appreciate the care our staff demonstrated in handling the situation, and thank the audience for their patience and support,” the Guthrie's Haskins wrote. The theater offered refunds or ticket exchanges to patrons who wanted to leave Friday night's performance.
This year's production is the 47th time the Guthrie has staged “A Christmas Carol.” It features the premiere of a new adaptation of the classic play.
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