A version of this article first appeared in the bulletin of the Central Florida Tourism Collective.
Nearly 30 years ago, I had front-row seats to “Angels in America” on Broadway. It was a moving performance, and out of the nearly to a hundred shows I’ve seen in New York, one of the most memorable.
But I’m remembering it for something other than the stellar writing and superior acting these days. From my up-close vantage I could see that when the actors spoke, a spray of aerosolized spit emanated from their mouths, enhanced and made more noticeable by the overhead lights. I remember thinking that the actors must be drenched by the end of the play (and those of us in the front row were in the splash zone, too, especially when Ron Leibman as Roy Cohn was nearby).
Actors, of course, project their voices so to be heard in the back row of the balcony, which undoubtedly increases the amount of spray. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re on stage or speaking up in a crowded room: When we speak, we spew.
So then, let’s talk about wearing face masks in restaurants.