The audience is your friend; individual audience members however...

Okay which of the following actual events most ruined the experience of going to a play for me last night?

  1. The people behind me incessantly whispering amongst themselves – sometimes even while lines were being spoken

  2. The old woman next to me who broke out her nail file and proceeded to give herself a manicure halfway through the first act

  3. The woman over on the side seats who proceeded to unwrap her piece of hard candy as slowly as humanly possible – taking at least 2 minutes to finish doing so

  4. The person five rows behind me who, no doubt inspired by the first woman, broke out her candy too*

  5. The entire crowd talking as loudly as possible during intermission – despite having been told by the house manager multiple times to keep voices down to not disturb the productions going on in other theaters in the building

(Sigh) – you know, I’m perfectly willing to give most people a pass for occasional lapses in judgment.  Lord knows I’ve had a few faux pas in my day.  But come on people – we can’t go to the theater without getting the now-ubiquitous “Please turn off your cell phones and unwrap you candy/cough drops now” speech – and yet all these people seem to think it doesn’t apply to them.  Because *their* candy is obviously the new kind that comes in stealth packaging that cannot be heard by other patrons…

Let me tell you folks – EVERYONE can hear it!!!

It was so irritating that one of the actors quite clearly glared at the 2-minute woman.  Completely unintentional (and fully in character with what he was supposed to be doing at the moment), but priceless nonetheless.

This is the first time I’ve ever held season tickets to any theater.  Typically I have just bought single tickets because my schedule is variable and I oftentimes don’t want to see some shows in a season.  But I’m starting to get a little tired of sitting next to the same annoying people night after night – all their little quirks and affectations are starting to grate to the point where it’s spoiling the performances.  Maybe I need to change to a different series, or at least a different evening – before I stab someone with their nail file.

* At least that person had the decency to unwrap it quickly…


KC said…
I feel your pain! As you know, I work with 2 local theatre companies, but I also fill in as an usher with numerous other companies as time permits. This kind of annoying stuff happens with every single audience I've been in. Oh, and don't forget the poor people who cough through the whole performance. Now, I'm not really dissing them too much because a cough is hard to muffle, but still.... I always carry a cough drop or two (already unwrapped) with me just in case I feel coughs coming on. I'm ushering for a show tonight. I guess I need to stop at Walgreen's and replenish my cough drop stash.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the folks who refuse to turn off their cell phones. That, I think, is the ultimate in bad theatre manners.
towwas said…
At the Kennedy Center they offer bins of free cough drops packaged in silent paper. (Wax paper instead of something crinkly.)
OleNelson said…
I know it's a different thing, but the behavior of some college students during lectures can be just as annoying. Not only are they all surfing the internet on their laptops, but they often fall asleep and/or burst into spontaneous bouts of giggles. And then they complain about getting a "B".