If you stand in the crowded lobby of the Promenade Theatre at a little before eight almost any night this winter, you will probably see a straggling line of people who all look very unhappy. Some of them have been standing there since seven o’clock in the hope that a ticket to Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind may come free. If you glance across the lobby to where the reviews are posted, you may see that another group has unconsciously formed a second line. These people already have their tickets and are just biding time before going into the theater. Gazing respectfully at the wall, they might be congregated around a Rembrandt or a Titian; and they turn away from the reviews with that expressive mixture of exhilaration and content that people sometimes wear emerging from a concert hall or moving away from a painting in a museum. I’ve passed by the Promenade Theatre several times this season at...


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