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Badly Behaved Audiences


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#61 hitster

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 11:54 AM

Last week during And Then There Were None at Wolverhampton Grand just as the first act was climaxing a mobile went off, as the play was using background music, noise effects it took a few seconds for us all to realise that some muppet's phone had gone off. Then just as the 2nd act had started another phone went off, angry glances were passed around the audience for the culprit.I often feel like saying "turn that bleeping phone off" but if you make yourself audible then that distracts the actors etc.

Also when people have sat in the wrong seats I've known them to be reluctant to move and try to get the people who have the seats booked to take their original seats even when ushers have been called in. Yet these people would be the first to kick off if you had the cheek to sit in their seats in error, I once made someone move sharpish to saying that's my seat I'll sit on your lap if you won't move.

#62 MrsDoyle

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 01:34 PM

Two old ladies where I work were in someone else's seats at a cinema showing. They swore blind they were the right seats. Yes they even had the right numbers, just a shame it was the wrong day!!

#63 Backdrifter

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 03:35 PM

Re wrong seats. A few years ago, attending a play at the Lyttleton, we made our way to our front stalls seats. The people already sat there very arrogantly said "No, these are ours" and flapped their tickets in my face. I pointed to the tickets and said, "Yes, row A... in the circle." They came close to actually physically deflating. God, I felt smug.
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#64 David

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:40 PM

QUOTE(hitster @ Feb 19 2008, 11:54 AM) View Post
Last week during And Then There Were None at Wolverhampton Grand just as the first act was climaxing a mobile went off, as the play was using background music, noise effects it took a few seconds for us all to realise that some muppet's phone had gone off. Then just as the 2nd act had started another phone went off, angry glances were passed around the audience for the culprit.I often feel like saying "turn that bleeping phone off" but if you make yourself audible then that distracts the actors etc.

Also when people have sat in the wrong seats I've known them to be reluctant to move and try to get the people who have the seats booked to take their original seats even when ushers have been called in. Yet these people would be the first to kick off if you had the cheek to sit in their seats in error, I once made someone move sharpish to saying that's my seat I'll sit on your lap if you won't move.


Ah, Grand Theatre audiences never cease to amaze me- again, always the old folks, rarely have problems with kids.

There were some incredibly disruptive people behind me at Rafta Rafta last week in Birmingham, talking loudly through the show, often repeating jokes, seemingly to show off to their friends that they'd 'got it'.

On an amusing aside, sat in the cinema waiting for Sweeney Todd to start, two old dears were walking up and down the aisle, desperately searching for seat GA- they found row G and row A, and couldn't work out which to sit in. Someone helped them eventually.

#65 Matthew Winn

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:52 PM

QUOTE(David @ Feb 19 2008, 05:40 PM) View Post
On an amusing aside, sat in the cinema waiting for Sweeney Todd to start, two old dears were walking up and down the aisle, desperately searching for seat GA- they found row G and row A, and couldn't work out which to sit in. Someone helped them eventually.

It's depressing how many people seem to forget the alphabet when looking for their seats. Some even forget how to count. At one show recently I saw a group of people look at several seats numbered something like 12, 13 and 14, and it took them half a minute to work out which direction to go to find their own seats, which were around 18 to 21.

Some theatres number the seats outward from the middle, odd numbers to one side and even numbers to the other. I think that's a great idea because you can tell how central your seat is from the number. I'd love to see how some of these idiots cope with that. Perhaps they'd try to sit on an arm rest because they had seat number 8 and couldn't find it between 7 and 9.
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#66 Haz

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:57 PM

QUOTE(Backdrifter @ Feb 19 2008, 03:35 PM) View Post
Re wrong seats. A few years ago, attending a play at the Lyttleton, we made our way to our front stalls seats. The people already sat there very arrogantly said "No, these are ours" and flapped their tickets in my face. I pointed to the tickets and said, "Yes, row A... in the circle." They came close to actually physically deflating. God, I felt smug.


That has happened to me 3 or 4 times now, to the extent that I'm almost paranoid about checking my ticket repeatedly because I fear karma is going to come back and bite me in the ass for feeling quite so smug previously!!!

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#67 jimee1987

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:37 PM

Someone claimed I was sitting in their seat once when I knew I was in the right seat. It turned out they had the right seat numbers and the right row but they were meant to be in the upper circle and not the grand circle. I told them this but they insisted they were right and I was wrong. Eventually they did back down and go upstairs but they weren't happy about it.

People singing along bugs me a lot, particularly when it's the slow quiet songs. There was a guy behind me who sang along with every song in the first act of Saturday Night Fever. I think someone had said something to him in the interval because he didn't in act 2.
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#68 ianianian

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:56 AM

QUOTE(Matthew Winn @ Feb 19 2008, 05:52 PM) View Post
Some theatres number the seats outward from the middle, odd numbers to one side and even numbers to the other. I think that's a great idea because you can tell how central your seat is from the number. I'd love to see how some of these idiots cope with that. Perhaps they'd try to sit on an arm rest because they had seat number 8 and couldn't find it between 7 and 9.


Ugh no that's the American way isn't it? At least that's the only country I've come across it. Hate it. I suppose it does actually have some sense and usefulness to it (a bit like the way America labels it's Interstate junctions after the milepost is a lot more useful than the way we number motorway junctions sequentially) but it just seems wrong biggrin.gif. I bet the people in the Broadway ticket offices get sick of explaining to Brits that actually yes their seats 7 and 9 are next to each other!

In this country the seats nearly always (95% of venues I'd say) just count upwards from Stage Left to Stage Right (so seat 1 is generally at House Right (as you look towards the stage)).

#69 Matthew Winn

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 07:28 AM

QUOTE(ianianian @ Feb 20 2008, 02:56 AM) View Post
Ugh no that's the American way isn't it? At least that's the only country I've come across it. Hate it. I suppose it does actually have some sense and usefulness to it ... but it just seems wrong biggrin.gif.

I don't know about America; my experience of this type of seat numbering comes from Britain and Belgium. I thought it was weird at first, but after the second or third time I liked it.

When the usual numbering is combined with varying row lengths it's impossible to know how close to centre you'll be or even which side you'll be. Even the theatre staff make mistakes: many times I've bought a seat in a short row and been directed to the wrong side by inexperienced FoH staff whose reasoning runs something like "seat 22 is central so if you're in seat 12 you must be on the right", but if the front row has only 18 seats then number 12 may be on the left.

Some theatres have clearly tried to make sure the same numbers are in the middle of each row, so one side of the central aisle is number 18 and the other side is 19, but somehow they've managed to get it wrong in a few places and seat numbers suddenly leap across the aisle. Of course this means that rows are numbered based on the length of the longest row, so many rows have seat numbers like 5 to 32 or 3 to 34. And sometimes there are odd variations, so one 30-seat row may be numbered 8 to 37 while another a few rows back will be 6 to 35.

Numbering out from the middle is so much easier.
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#70 Belle

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 01:59 PM

Having visited theatres in Germany with the numbering out from the centre, it is REALLY confusing if you're not very familiar with the language and the system.  And given the number of tourists that make up London audiences, making it more confusing is not going to help.  

If you're worried about what seats you're booking, it's simpler to look up a seating plan.  The seating plans - colour coded with the price bands- should be available for every production.
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