Friday, August 26, 2011

Shorty PJs Guide to Audience Etiquette

Follies Performers = +10
Follies Audience = - 492

To Bernadette Peters, Ron Raines, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, Elaine Paige, Jayne Houdyshell, Mary Beth Peil, Terri White, and everyone else in this marvelous cast: Let me apologize for the atrocious behavior of the audience at the Friday, August 19th, 8pm performance.

I estimate at least 40 late seatings in orchestra throughout the first act and a fairly steady stream of folks coming and going on bathroom breaks during the entire show. Was this as distracting to you, Dear Cast, as it was for those of us non-late-bathroom-goers who'd come to bask in the glow of your performances? I have never witnessed such disrespectful behavior by an audience ever in my years of theatre-going.

Who are you people who'd plopped down mucho dinero for prime orchestra seats, only to walk in, out, and around like you were in the middle of watching reality TV in the privacy of your fake-paneled dens with barcaloungers? Well, dearies, it seems you need to brush up on your theatre audience etiquette. So, here are the rules:
  1. Never arrive late. Never. The performance time is right there on the ticket. You have plenty of time to get to the theatre, so implement some planning skills. If you arrive late, sit or stand quietly in the back (no chit-chat with the ushers) until intermission. Sorry. If you're late you forfeit your right to a comfy up-close seat for the first act.
  2. If you have a cough, allergies, or a tendency to clear your throat every 15 seconds, come prepared. Bring a bottle of water. Unwrap all your cough lozenges before the show starts.
  3. Do not guzzle gallons of water, iced tea, or martinis at your pre-theatre pre fixe dinner, unless you have the pee-holding characteristics of a camel. Your need to relieve yourself does not take precedence over the rest of us who get views blocked and concentration broken by your traipsing up and down the aisle during a fabulous number or quiet dialogue. Practice your pelvic muscle control and wait until intermission to hit the loo.
  4. If you have incontinence problems, see #3. And get your seats near the back of the theatre, on far left or far right aisles. You'll still be distracting to the rest of us, but I'll cut you a little slack for health/age reasons. However, you get no sympathy from me if you insist on sitting in the middle of rows A-W.
  5. The overture is part of the show. Shut up and listen. Any time the orchestra strikes up, pre-show or intermission, there should be no talking. Conversations must cease. These fine folks have more talent in their little string-plucking finger than you could ever hope to have. Honor those gifts and show due respect.
  6. For goodness sake, people, dress appropriately. I've written about the appalling lack of respect for the orchestra and performers before. Do not turn up wearing cut-offs, tube tops, wife-beaters, and tee shirts. This is Broadway, folks! Broadway! Dress like you care! Dress like you have a date with Bernadette Peters or Daniel Radcliffe after the show. Do your homes, hotel rooms, or flop houses have no mirrors? Hmph.
It's all about respect for your fellow-audience members and the outrageous, unbelievable talents of the performers. Do not interfere with the delicate dance between audience and cast. Those of us who love, love, love theatre expect to be drawn into story, song, emotion - whatever is being offered to us from the stage. Talking, coughing, walking around, and rattling paper all break the magical thread that ties those of us in the seats to the folks treading the boards.

You do not have Shorty PJ's permission to attend another performance of anything (including your daughter's dance recital or your son's 3rd grade play) until you've memorized the rules. Yes, it's that serious.

Now, everyone who caused such an audience ruckus during Follies on August 19th, 8pm performance, please send a hand-written apology to everyone in the cast and orchestra. It's only right.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Oh doesn't it just make your cross? People talking and coming in late. No idea some people.