Posted 20 March 2007 - 08:26 AM
Some years ago a friend of mine went to a matinee at the Lyric Hammersmith and the audience was joined by two drunken women who kept talking loudly throughout the performance. At a certain point, the leading actress, the late Constance Cummings, stopped and said "I can't go on. This has got to stop". Then the ushers went in and forcibly carried the two women out, screaming. After that the performance continued uninterrupted.
I witnessed a similar happening years ago at the Gardner Centre in Brighton. After the drunk was carried out the audience applauded, especially after the leading actor had turned to the drunk and said "Excuse me sir, but are you a Union member?"
Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:14 AM
Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:41 AM
I like to think I am well behaved in the theatre, I groan quietly when the show is dire and slurp my water delicately. I don't mind the odd whisper but the other night at Coriolanus there was a horrible, loud and persistent cough. It was really awful. Coughers should either know they are and bring the right sweeties to suck or leave the auditorium until they are better.
My heart sinks when I see a school trip but on the whole they are ok these days.
Posted 20 March 2007 - 11:12 AM
1) Many kids cannot culturally distinguish and have not been taught to discriminate between watching a live performance and watching something on a screen; they, therefore, have little conception that if they are talk they are breaking the concentration of performers and audience. This is further enhanced by the vocally partisan reactions encouraged from audiences in TV "talent" shows and the fact that in many homes you don't so much watch TV as have it on as background to whatever else you're doing.
2) Visits to theatres by schools are much rarer since the ridiculous health and safety regulations were introduced. (Four page risk assessments on a theatre visit anyone?) Teachers are therefore more reluctant to take kids out which in turn means that the experience is les common and the etiquette does not become second nature.
3) If youngsters have been to a theatre it's a sure bet that it will have been a pantomime where audience participation is expected and encouraged. How confusing is that?
4) Schools TV programmes always show Elizabethans at the Globe watching Shakespeare in a noisy rowdy atmosphere
5) The behaviour of some adults leaves a lot to be desired (see, for instance, the inane comments in the mobile phone strand) and of course "monkey see, monkey do"
6) Too many theatres encourage eating sweets etc. as part of the experience because they have to look to profits. This means that the performance becomes secondary to eating. Rather ironic, when in many restaurants the act of eating is secondary to the "performance element" of making sure the kids are entertained.
Now, of course, much of this can be offset by "educating" pupils otherwise; personally this was something I always did. I'm afraid there is not a simple solution though. If there is a school party in try and think positively - at least there's a hope that they will keep supporting the live arts when they get older
Posted 20 March 2007 - 11:29 AM
Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:05 PM
Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:21 PM
The exception to the rule seems to be when there is "adult" content in the performance which adolescents, it seems, are totally ill-equipped to deal with. The recent all-male Romeo and Juliet, or Some Explicit Polaroids for example both drove me to find the teacher involved to express my dismay at the lack of any contol over the loud and supposedly funny comments such as "oh no! Hes going to take his clothes off! How gross! Ewwwwwwww!!"
The tutor in charge of the posh girls from Blackpool (sounds like a contradiction in terms I know) merely shrugged his shoulders, but became a little more concerned when two other theatregoers brought the Grand Theatre manager over who promised to launch a complaint with the school!
And who could see that the road would twist
Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:59 PM
In general I don't mind sweets so long as they're not in rustly packets or individually wrapped, and so long as the eaters know where their sweets are before the show starts rather than having to search for them in the dark. Though why people can't go for an hour without munching on something I don't know.
Worse than sweets are crisps. I'd love to know which idiot it was who thought "What food would be appropriate for the near-silence of the theatre? Ah, I know: crisps!" I must find this person, and I must hurt him.
Few foods, however, have quite the distracting effect of a box of Maltesers dropped at the rear of a raked auditorium, and I defy anyone to concentrate on a performance while listening to the dings and clunks of several dozen sweets haphazardly making their way down to the stage. (This is one of those situations where something that might be annoying is actually irresistibly funny.)
Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:17 AM
Saying that, I have found myself thinking some school parties are going to be trouble and they have been as good as gold. Some groups get so into what they are watching that they don't make any noise, get their phones out etc. A couple of weeks ago we had in a school party which was made up of very polite teenagers which was a lovely breath of fresh air!
I don't understand why so many people feel the need to get up during the performance and go to the toilet. It makes sense to go before it starts, and then wait until the interval. I know some people may have medical reasons but the amount of people who go to the toilet during the show is rediculous! Especially in the middle of a row. And when people run across the front row! So inconsiderate.
Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:15 PM
I've had a couple of annoying experiences with school parties once at The Woman in Black when all the girls screamed stupidly throughout, and also at cabaret I was with my old school at the time and there were a couple of other school parties in which the girls giggled as soon as anyone was naked and then would talk about it for a while
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