Thursday, June 12, 2008

Annoying Audience Moments

I was recently at the Broadway show BOEING BOEING when suddenly during the performance someone behind me started rustling a plastic bag. This went on for awhile and then both the people started sloooooowly unwrapping candies from cellophane. It went on for so long I thought they were joking. In the second act it happened again and I missed a few lines of dialogue. I turned around and said "You can't be serious." The two people looked bewildered.

This made me think of the craziest audience experiences I have had at the theatre. Here are just a few:

During the show CABARET in Chicago at the Shubert theatre a man answered his cell phone during the show and talked on it while walking up the aisle.

At KISS ME KATE on Broadway - a couple who sat in the front row brought a lunchbox. They proceeded to eat from it and sip from soda cans out of straws. All in the sight lines of the cast onstage.

During THE KING AND I on Broadway a little girl was eating corn chips out of a plastic bag during the show. I asked the nanny to have it taken away from her and she told the girl I was a "mean man"

During TALE OF THE ALLERGISTS WIFE on Broadway a woman in the audience kept guessing the last word an actor or actress on stage would say. She kept finishing their sentences. (I'm not kidding)

This leads me to another topic. What is with all the cell phones at the movies these days??? There are so many people checking their messages during the show it's like an electric light show down front. I have to keep looking from the movie because I see lights blinking in my peripheral vision.

I was at a movie where the young girls sitting next to me not only checked their cell phones during the movie but answered them as well. They were talking on the phone during a movie! Then one of the girls who had seen the movie before was yelling out the punchlines!!!!!!

The bad thing is you can't say anything to these people about their behavior. When you point it out this only makes them think you're a jerk and makes the situation uncomfortable. You would think these people would realize they are being rude but they never do.

This is a shame because some of my favorite theatre and movie moments were with audiences who were totally in to what they were watching. I saw HAIRSPRAY when it first opened on Broadway and the audience was so into the show that it enhanced the show. When I saw THE BOY FROM OZ the audience was so in the palm of performer Hugh Jackman's hand that it also enhanced the experience.

I also remember when I saw the movie LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS the audience clapped after the musical numbers. When the STAR WARS movies (and Spielberg movies) used to come out it was so fun to see them with an audience. We were all along for the ride together.

I'm not sure if I'm getting too old or the audiences are getting too rude. In either case it's a shame.*

*PS: To all my friends who are going to reply "too old" - hush up!