I immediately head for the bathroom. At the door to the balcony, my colleagues hesitate to accept the usher’s offer to reseat us. “Is it better?” they ask. Well, yes. So are the seats she offers is one minute before the curtain rises.

The play is “The Birthday,” by Harold Pinter. It is Samuel Beckett light. There is too much human interest and entertainment for a Beckett play. No matter how badly it’s played, I’ve never heard anyone laugh at “Waiting for Godot.”

Nothing much happens in this play, either. It’s someone’s birthday, or it isn’t; two strangers arrive; the birthday boy leaves the next morning as a zombie. I wonder if I am suffering James Joycean déja-vu, or if I really recognize a boarding house, a mother, an eligible daughter figure, a stage Irishman and a Jew. Maybe it’s like sensory deprivation: you start to project.