I sat next to a charming and elegant woman last night at the performance of the Harvard Sailing Team. Her name was Eileen. She was elderly and finely dressed and evidently happy to see a critic sitting next to her scribbling in a notebook.

She told me about her time touring with Disney and acting in New York. She sang Cole Porter tunes and other music from the American songbook. She called it music that really meant something, unlike the music that was coming of the speakers prior to showtime, which she said authoritatively had no variation, no life in it.

We were being assaulted by Salt’n Pepper’s “Push It.”

“I grew up with this kind of music, so I’m used to it,” I told her.

“Pity,” she said.

After asking me what I did for a living, she told me that writing was a great calling in life. As a writer, I must surely agree that if everyone were too busy creating art, there would be no time for all this fighting in the world.

“They would too busy getting centerstage,” Eileen said.

Then she introduced me to her granddaughter.

“She’s a doctor,” Eileen said, expectantly.

The granddaughter and I shared a knowing glance and laughed politely.

Throughout Harvard Sailing Team’s performance, Eileen provided expert commentary.

We watched a joyful dance between a jubilant June Cleaver-type character and a husband-like character whom we could easily imagine wearing a gray flannel suit.

The emotion was warm and sunny. We expected the couple to eventually face each to embrace. Then she screams: “I don’t know you, I don’t know you! Get out, get out, get out!”

“Oh, this is very smartly done,” she said. “Very smartly done.”

Even when the humor turned macabre, Eileen was delighted.

In “Cat Talk,” two shy and socially awkward women talk about their felines while the neighbors debate loudly in rough male voices over what to do with the dead bodies in their apartment.

Later, the kid, whom we think is dead, says, “I’m not dead yet. Help. Somebody help me.” And later, “Are you talking about cats? I love cats. Help.”

Eileen was on the edge of her seat — as if she’d love nothing better than to leap from her chair and join them on stage. This is what showbiz is all about, I imagined her thinking.

Later, as she explained what made the Harvard Sailing Team so good, I tried to understand her, but the music was too loud and the crowd was buzzing and she meandered in that confusing but good-hearted way that older people do.

I tried to offer my attention in as politely a way as I could, but I couldn’t make out much of what she was telling me in earnest. The exception was a brief moment of quiet just prior to the next bit. The crowd had settled. The music was off. But Eileen was making her point.

“You can never have too much laughter,” she said. “But no one listens to an old woman.”

I’m glad I did. Thank you, Miss Eileen. And remember to break a leg.