Badly Behaved Audiences
Posted 25 January 2008 - 12:37 PM
on wedensday at the matinee of sound of music margaret preece's climb every mountain was drowned out at dress circle level by the teacher who started handing out the fun size mars bars before the interval, and they were all opened one by one, but the loud russle of the packet as it was passed along the row!
last night at blood brothers i was shocking - two women in front of me slurping on their starbucks and then they started eating crisps! there was a man seated as far as possible from the toilet who went three times in fifteen minutes (he has either an infection or an enlarged prostate!!) and the ushers spent the entire show darting round the circle telling people to stop recording the show on their mobile phones
there was an elderly woman last week at part 2 of nicholas nickleby who brought along her sandwiches wrapped in tin foil and in a russly bag - eat before the show dear, this is the theatre! she got very annoyed when i turned round and told her to stop munching! during the interval she tried a how very dare you on me, and it didnt wash! i went to town on her - telling her that the sandwich munching older generation simply had no respect!
this all plus the endless number of pre pubescent children with untrained bladders with untrained parents who do not prompt toilet visits and bladder evacuations before the curtain goes up, and largely a week of theatre going has been distrubed on a mega scale
whats the problem? a general lack of respect from these people to the audience and the performers? the wrong sort of people being attracted into the theatre by the likes of grease / maria / joseph on tv? producers like uncle bill who offer top price seats to school parties for £10 to try and get people in?
if i am paying £40+ to see a show then i expect to be able to hear the show and not have it drowned out by some old biddy munching on her walker's sensations. i also think part of the problem is that they allow food to be taken into the auditoriums of theatres - it should go back to the days of eat before the show and NO food or drink in the theatre - maybe this is something that should be added into the pre show announcments, and theatre staff doing bag checks should remove any evidence of food from people entering the theatre! either that or stay at home and much in front of corrie and eastenders - it is more of an appropriate intellectual level
call me theatre snob? yes i am and am proud of it!!
Posted 25 January 2008 - 12:49 PM
And it does seem to be a West End thing, because it's not nearly so bad in places like the National, Menier, Almeida, etc. I regularly fail to understand how people cannot be aware that the sound of their sweet wrappers is echoing round and irritating the hell out of people.
I also detest the throat-clearers - I understand if people cough because it's quite often something that can't be controlled, but why does anyone need to clear their throat? It's not like they need to say anything for the duration of the play!
Posted 25 January 2008 - 01:24 PM
About a decade ago the then-manager of the New London told me a story of how they'd confiscated a video camera from someone who was filming the show. He denied it, of course, but they kept the camera anyway and said he could recover it at the end of the performance.
They checked the tape and found he had indeed been filming the show, so they rewound the tape and overwrote the whole lot with footage of the carpet, the office clock, and anything else utterly uninteresting they could think of. After he'd reclaimed his camera they discreetly watched him rush off into the street to check the results of his surreptitious filming, knowing that he couldn't complain.
As for mobile phones, when I saw The Lord Of The Rings there was a group of kids whose phones were lighting up half the balcony. There were plenty of staff around and they did nothing. I'd like to see people who are spoiling the show for others thrown out.
I hate that some theatres are selling crisps and popcorn in the bars and foyer: not appropriate food for an environment where quietness is essential. Even the sweets are in noisy plastic bags. They could at least use low-noise wrappings.
And surely people can last for an hour or so without having to eat? Humans can last for several days without food. Refraining from eating for ninety minutes at most shouldn't be an unattainable goal. I'd make an exception for cough sweets, lozenges, or Mars bars for diabetics, but the theatre is not the place to eat your lunch.
There's more. How can anyone be so incredibly thick as to buy sweets before the show and then bury them somewhere in a cluster of bags so they can't find them again, necessitating a lengthy and noisy search, often accompanied by a running commentary, before they can be located? If you buy something with the intention of eating it within half an hour then put it where you can reach it, you clueless moron!
I think many modern theatregoers do need to be educated in how to behave in public. They seem to believe that they have a right to do whatever they like with no thought for the effect on those around them. Many of them appear to be completely unaware that talking and singing during a show could annoy other people. Do they think nobody can hear them? Or do they just not give a damn? Probably the latter, as the usual justification is "I paid £50 for this seat so I can do what I want", as if everyone else is there on a freebie.
I'm afraid I don't have much patience with the stupid, and if we can't farm them for food like cattle I really don't see much point in keeping them around.
Posted 25 January 2008 - 01:59 PM
The stupidest thing is that people seem to think that by opening their sweets very slowly it will make less noise. The only thing is that it makes the whole sweet opening clatter and rustle last 10 times longer. If you must have sweets take them out of their wrappers before the show starts.
Posted 25 January 2008 - 04:05 PM
I've got a feeling that the bad audiences seem to go mainly to musicals (I don't) so maybe that's why I haven't experienced too much trouble in London either.
Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:58 PM
Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:27 AM
Even worse are the die hard fans of the show, who I've heard scream, literally a high pitched scream, at a note in the middle of a song they found particularly impressive, or try and start applause for a song way before it's even over, do they not realise that there's well over 1000 other people in the theatre, the vast majority of whom will be seeing the show only that one time, and therefore shelled out lots of money to actually hear performers finish a song, not to hear someone screaming and cheering for no other reason than to be obnoxious.
The audience at both the Sound of Music and Joseph have been better every time I've seen them both. What is it about Wicked that causes behaviour like that?
Posted 26 January 2008 - 01:02 PM
I think Wicked attracts more teenage girl fans to their show than the SoM and Joseph. Hence the screaming and general whooping and hysterical disturbances.
Posted 26 January 2008 - 01:40 PM
I don't think they're doing it to be obnoxious, and they probably don't even realise that's what they're being. I've sat near people like that and they spend a load of time before the show talking very loudly about how often they've seen it, so it's my belief they're doing it because they think everyone else will be impressed that they've seen the show many times before.
Sorry, but when it comes to the list of great human achievements "buying several tickets for one show" isn't quite up there with climbing Mount Everest or walking on the Moon. It's not even on a par with learning to drive or building a shed. I've seen quite a few shows multiple times myself, and even I'm not impressed by that so I don't see why anyone else should be. It's not something worth boasting about. All you have to do is (1) buy a ticket, (2) watch the show, and (3) go back to (1). It's hardly the most intellectual of achievements.
Although, for the screamers, perhaps it is.
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