The past week or so has seen the visitation of the brother and then a bit of a wind-down of much-needed solitude. Of the many events and sights I/we visited, the highlights (two films and a play) were each characterized by Q&A sessions. I’ve never quite gotten on board with these things–I think it’s cool that directors/actors/writers get up there to go into a little more detail about their work, but the people ask the dumbest questions. Or worse, they don’t ask questions at all, but rather use the forum to air information about themselves, creating an awkward silence in their wake.

The first (and most painful) of these was a Tribeca Film Festival screening of Fighter, a fairly low-budget Danish version of Karate Kid (Turkish girl overcomes gender/social/cultural obstacles to become kung-fu fighter, wins respect of glowering bully and love of cute blond boy). The film was fine, not great; the director, one of the lead actors, and this old-school kung-fu master guy were there for the Q&A and gamely fielded statements about audience members’ experiences in Copenhagen, opinions about the “Turkish diaspora” in northern Europe, and a request for the actor to do a back flip (he politely declined).

A few days later we took in the premiere of Finding Amanda, which was hilarious (catch it if it comes to your town) and again sat through a stiff Q&A with the writer/director Peter Tolan and stars Brittany Snow and Matthew Broderick. They all seemed pretty unwilling to answer questions at all, and the death blow was dealt by the guy who asked poor Mr. Broderick what was the worst thing he’d ever read about himself in “the trades.”

Then, the other day as I was quietly enjoying a freshly empty house (brother sent home, Will in Princeton), I received an unexpected last-minute invitation to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s new production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, starring John Turturro and, of all people, Elaine Stritch. The play was as hilarious and sad as I expected, but then the dreaded Q&A began. The best part, I think, was when someone asked Ms. Stritch about how she prepared for the “physicality” of her role. [For those unfamiliar with the play, she played Hamm’s–John Turturro’s character–mother, who, along with her husband, Nagg, lives in a garbage can.] She tartly replied that there wasn’t much preparation needed for moving around inside an ashcan on one’s stumps. Okay, then! I really think that these little extras would be best presented as panel-type discussions among the players/producers that the audience can just watch and enjoy, like a DVD extra. We can’t be trusted to ask interesting or intelligent questions, it seems.