To illustrate this point, I will tell the story of the two women that sat in front of me. The first act starts out just introducing the characters and getting you into the flow of the story. You go into the first intermission somewhat happy...or at least if you do see the warning signs. It starts to drag down towards the end but you still are not that bad.
The second act starts out this way, rather light, but in this act is when Miller starts to bring forth the flaws of the characters. One quarter of the way through it it starts getting sad. About half of the way through it, one of the lady's, who had been laughing for most of the prior parts of the play, began to cry. This is a really bad sign but I sat and kind of checked up on her progress every now and then.
As the second act moves on, the plight of the characters just gets worse and worse. She was having trouble keeping quiet and almost had to leave during the second act. I knew she had no chance of making it through the third act, but I wanted to see how long she could make it...maybe in a sportsmen kind of way.
After the intermission of the second and third act, she came back in with kind of light spirits on...I think she had a drink or two over the break. The third act starts sudden and just drags you down from the beginning. She did not last five minutes until she started crying again. She was able to hold it this time quite well, until the infamous restaurant scene...which is a little less than half of the way through the third act. At that point she was crying uncontrollable and had to leave...she could not handle the how sad the play was.
If you do have a chance to see this play, please take advantage of it. It is an excellent play, even if you go alone...it is basic enough where anyone would be entertained but the depth of it is incredible. Keep in mind, though, it is a very dark play. It is best if you bring someone special to this one, but bring a handkerchief. Next play I am going to see is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. One play I enjoy no matter how many times I go to see it. After that there is Oedipus by Sophocles and Pericles by William Shakespeare. What and excellent season to see plays at the Guthrie!