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Audience chatterboxes


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#11 Matthew Winn

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 09:38 AM

Oh, yes: that perception that the overture, the entr'acte, and sometimes the entire first scene of each act, are there to give the audience time to wrap up their conversations, open their bags of confectionery, finish their drinks, and generally do all the things they would have done before the lights went down were it not for the fact that they have fewer brain cells than toes.

And why is it that when someone who has been in film or television comes on stage there is always somebody, somewhere, who will chip in with a clearly audible whisper to ask "Where have we seen him before?"
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#12 Peter

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 10:01 AM

When Ewan McGregor made his entrance in Guys and Dolls, half of the stalls seemed be whispering and pointing as though it was some kind of surprise. Even worse, when Nigel Harmen was in the show a woman in the front row started to clap and scream on his first appearance, though she quietened down quite quickly when she realised no-one else was on the same drugs as her...
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#13 Blue

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 01:12 PM

I'm all for chair kicking if they are talking and if they are behind me I try and sit as high in my seat as I can. But I try to avoid getting into a confrontation. Mostly because I'm a coward but also because it will just make an even bigger scene.

#14 Backdrifter

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 01:52 PM

I'm all for a polite "Can you not talk please" and in the past have got mostly positive results but I'm beginning to think of not bothering now as it increasingly yields aggrieved, abusive results of the you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do variety. Recently at the NT I shot some abuse back at someone who reacted like this (after I'd not reacted to their constant, audible remarks for at least 30 mins) and part of the reason I'm thinking of just letting it go is that I can develop a very short fuse in those situations and I worry that one day I'll snap and just start yelling at them and cause ten times more disruption than they did! (and possibly be removed).

Has anyone ever involved theatre staff in any ongoing confrontations?
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#15 armadillo

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 02:43 PM

I usually think that involving theatre staff would probably cause more disruption than the talking. Imagine leaving your seat (perhaps annoying 10 people), finding an usher, explaining the problem, persuading him/her to confront the chatterers (who would almost certainly then deny all knowledge of the disturbance), all while trying to watch the show. But what to do? If ushers were to wander up and down looking for talkers, that would be a distraction in itself.

#16 JWC

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:44 PM

QUOTE(armadillo @ Mar 19 2007, 02:43 PM) View Post
I usually think that involving theatre staff would probably cause more disruption than the talking. Imagine leaving your seat (perhaps annoying 10 people), finding an usher, explaining the problem, persuading him/her to confront the chatterers (who would almost certainly then deny all knowledge of the disturbance), all while trying to watch the show. But what to do? If ushers were to wander up and down looking for talkers, that would be a distraction in itself.


I certainly did involve the theatre staff once (at the interval) by asking to speak to a manager. Mind you I was complaining about two of the ushers who were comparing notes on a party they had been to the previous night rather than attending to Holly Hunter in By The Bog of Cats - actually on second thoughts perhaps they were quite sensible not to be paying attention.

#17 M George

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 04:14 PM

QUOTE(Backdrifter @ Mar 19 2007, 01:52 PM) View Post
Has anyone ever involved theatre staff in any ongoing confrontations?


Yes, I got a group of rowdy kids kicked out of the Grand Theatre in Leeds once.  They were disrupting a very good performance by continually chatting loudly, giggling when  giggling was not required and generally misbehaving.  Those few people who tried to shut them by shushing failed miserably in their attempts and eventually I went and got an usher and demanded the removal of the offenders which, when backed up by a few other people, is what I got.  Act 1 ruined, fabulous Act 2.
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#18 Haz

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 04:34 PM

the worst i've experienced was at les mis where there was a family of 3 in front of me. they were obviously tourists, for whom english was not their first language and throughout the first act, the mother proceded to 'whisper' what i assume was an explanation of what was happening on stage to her daughter at every given opportunity.

i asked once that they please be quiet.. she stopped for a few minutes but then started again. i asked again just before the interval if they could be quiet because they were disturbing several of us. they didn't return after the interval.. but rather than feeling guilty i just moved forward into their seats  laugh.gif
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#19 David

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 10:52 PM

QUOTE(siobhan @ Mar 18 2007, 11:49 PM) View Post
The chair kicking is an 'accident'.

Oh, in that case it's all good and proper, and I'm in full support of it- sorry wink.gif

#20 wickedgrin

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:02 AM

People chatting during a performance is one of the most irritating things that can happen as well as noisy sweet unwrapping etc. This problem is all too prevalent today as people of all ages are used to watching TV together and commenting on the action or the actors during transmission; they think they can do the same in the theatre. The most annoying thing about this is you cannot do anything about it without causing even more distubance, so often it has to be left. On the few occasions I have dared to say anything I have got a mouthful of abuse so now I usually suffer in silence. Musicals are far worse than plays for this which says everything about alot of musical fans who would never go to a straight play.




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