Now, I like to think I'm a professional and can act accordingly if I'm faced with rude, inconsiderate audience members. And trust me, there are times when I wanted to do exactly what Broadway diva Patti LuPone did during her biggest moment in Gypsy - "Rose's Turn." (watch the video below)
They don't play those announcements for shits and giggles. There are copyright laws, union rules, and most importantly the safety of the actors onstage. You may not understand this if you've never been onstage but stage lights and spotlights are already blinding enough. It's hard to see the stage's edge and the clearance in the wings when rushing off after a scene. It's dangerous. But I'm sure you've all been at an event where you get caught in the flash photo extravaganza and you walk away seeing spots from all the flashes going off. Now couple that with the intensity of the stage lights. Not easy at all. And scary.
Performers strive to do their best for the audience every time. We know the audience is paying good money to see us up there. No matter the ticket price it does NOT give you the right to take pictures or video footage, answer your phone, text message, READ THE NEWSPAPER (I've seen it done), sleep, or any other rude gesture that sends the message to those working hard onstage that you don't care!
HOW DARE YOU!?!
I still get dolled up when I go to the theater. A night at the theater for me isn't just 'something to do' it's an experience. There is etiquette to be followed.
- No cell phones. And I'm not talking turning it on vibrate. I'm talking TURN IT OFF. It's not just the sound of the ringtone or the turning of heads when there is an echo of a vibrating phone. It actually interferes with the sound systems and lighting systems in the theater that help the show run smoothly. There is usually an intermission. Check your phone then. If you went through the trouble of paying a lot of money for a show ticket, give yourself the night off and enjoy the show.
- DO NOT TALK! The actors do not want to compete with your ever so important conversation you are having so rudely in the middle of a show. Not only does it annoy the actors but you will quickly piss off the other 500 patrons in the audience.
- Loud candy/food packaging? Have it unwrapped or open before the show starts. And do us all a favor...for the love of God...rethink the crunchy potato chip choice. Again...LOUD! Stick with hard candies or gummy candies.
- Oh and a live theatre is not a movie theater. Put your damn feet down. I worked in a 1920s RKO Historical Vaudeville House for 8 1/2 years. I can tell you that it's expensive to restore theater seats. Leave your feet on the floor. Cross your legs. ANYTHING just not on the seat in front of you. Not only will you be saving these old historical theater furnishings but you'll also avoid a lawsuit from kicking the person in front of you.
- And the other thing I think that has gotten way out of control is the way people dress. To me, going to the theater is classy. I'm not saying you have to wear an evening gown and your finest jewels, but can the ripped jeans take a night off? I never wear jeans or T-shirts to the theater. Recently I treated my nephew to a performance of Avenue Q in NYC. I mean it's a play with foul language and Muppet like characters. NO JEANS ALLOWED no matter how casual the subject matter. Have fun with the experience. Get a little dolled up! It won't kill you. I promise!
- And please please please CLAP! No one is asking for a standing 'O', to throw flowers, shout encore, or do the Arsenio Hall. Clapping says you appreciate the actors even if you didn't like the story line. You are not applauding a storyline. You are applauding the hard work. It's about respect.
Would you want someone coming into your house and putting their grubby feet and fingers all over your furniture? What about feeding a houseful of people and not having one person say 'Thank You' for your efforts? How would you feel if you were telling a story at dinner and someone just rudely answered their phone and had a conversation while you are trying to entertain your guests? How about someone coming to your charity mixer in a midriff and ripped jeans?
So, the next time you attend a live performance at a theater stop and look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are putting your best foot forward. The actors always do. And they do it for YOU.
Enjoy the show!