The story begins:
How would you like to go to the theatre expecting to sit next to a friend, find the seat occupied by a stranger whose face was oddly familiar, have your friends visit you between the acts, and gaze curiously at your companion, and then find out the next day that —
Well, the experience of no less a celebrated first nighter than [playwright] Paul M. Potter is the best answer to this hypothetical question. Furthermore, Mr. Potter, who admits the joke is on him, declares that the incident actually took place as described.
What follows is an anecdote that comments on class differences in 1910 as Potter tries to figure out who the fellow sitting next to him is, and how he knows him. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it did make me think about how differently this event would play out today.
THE UNCONSCIOUS COMEDIAN IN THE THIRD ROW (PDF)
From August 14, 1910