weekend of theatre, am I too old

What a busy weekend that was … a trip to London for three shows (Little Eyolf, Moonlight, Flare Path) then home, followed by an outing on Tuesday to see Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella. Good theatre all of it but shame about the audiences!

Perhaps its me, perhaps times really have moved on and theatre is not how it was, I mean, we no longer dress up, not a dinner jacket or sparkly frock in sight, so maybe other onventions have changed too.

Like the convention of staying to applaud the performers rather than rushing out the moment the lights dim and not even waiting for the walk-down.

I’m sure at some point we’ve all been taken bad and had to leave during an act, even if we’re mid-row, but the convention used to be that you saw the rest of the act from the back, now it seems the norm to fight your way back to your seat regardless of the inconvenience to others.

Of course the convention of not having a conversation during the show seems to have died a while back and it now seems the done thing for at least one couple per row to have a chat. In fact the theatre staff appear to be getting in on this one now too (Flare Path) … how delightful … oh, and not having glass on the front of the box not only means that the techies get a better view but also prevents the audience receiving a shock when things happen as they are forwarned by hearing “go” every time, even if that is a somewhat surreal experience.

I am glad that we are now allowed drinks in most auditoria, but wonder at the delight some people take in adding to the sound effects by opening fizzy water at poignant and quiet moments (both Little Eyolf and Moonlight benefited from this) – but heh, if you’re thirsty why wait!

Mobile phones – don’t get me started. Obviously “turn  them off” has become “turn off the ringer” in modern parlance because that seems to be all most people do, the advantage being that they can still send and receive texts and even go on twitter and facebook, just in case something critical happens during the show and they don’t see it until after all their friends. Of course the other advantage is that they can see so much more clearly by the light of the screen, as can everyone else – it must be such a delight for the cast to be able to see the faces of the audience lit up on a random basis during the show. And having a phone, why not take a photo of the set too …. stand up and do it, you’ll get a better shot (Cinderella).

If there’s smoke on stage do remember to cough please, ideally quite loudly and the moment it appears, even if you are in the circle.

I wonder if theatres have thought to having “quiet zones” in their auditoria like trains now have quiet carriages? Or having discounted tickets like “restricted view” but called “inconsiderate audience members” 😉

Perhaps, after all, I am too old, I try and respect the performers and the other people who have paid for their tickets … of course, this wasn’t the way for hundreds of years, theatres did involve shouting at the performers (much like panto), being seen rather than watching the show and even paying extra to sit on stage … so maybe we’re just reverting to the old ways. Whatever, I miss being transported by a show without being brought back with a bump by every idiot who thinks that watching a live performance can be treated like watching TV ….

Ho hum … end of rant … for now

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