An invisible show happens behind and underneath what the audience sees. Curtains fly, lights go up and down, sets move, all because of stagehands and technicians. The stage manager coordinates their activity prior to and during the performance. It requires a cool head, a wide understanding of theater craft, and comprehensive knowledge of the production.

Louise Maske stretches to see the King pass during a parade, and her bloomers fall to her feet. Her husband Theo, a low-level government functionary, is appalled when he learns what happened (he thinks he’ll be fired), while Louise’s upstairs neighbor is thrilled for the excitement. Soon, men are vying to rent a room in the Maskes’ apartment.

I attended a theater performance last night, seated immediately behind a woman with a screen bigger than the color TV in the livingroom of my childhood home. As the story played out on stage, she browsed the Internet, checked her bank account (twice), watched a video, shared vacation photos with her seatmate, and (you guessed it) texted incessantly. Then her phone rang, and she answered it.