Monday, December 14, 2009

Save the audience participation for game shows!

I am a "Sitter". Not a baby sitter, but a person who sits during a concert or play, and listens to what is going on in front of me. There are not many sitters out there anymore. Concerts and plays would be a whole lot more enjoyable if the following would just stay home.

The “Talkers” - “Talkers” are those people who feel the need to talk during an entire show. I don’t mean just that annoying whisper chat, but a full on conversation about things. Dirty looks over the shoulder are useless as these folks just ignore the evil eye or glare back in indignation that grandma’s growing gambling addiction is not as important to me as it should be.

The “Wrappers” – “Wrappers” show up prepared and time their activity perfectly to the performance so as to unwrap candy and snacks in a slow and methodical method thinking it will make the noise less intrusive. Cellophane is not theater friendly. Can’t you hear it yourself? Neither are bags of small candies that fall out and make their way down the floor like pin balls and usually followed by crying.

The “Chewers” - These people feel it is essential for their survival to chew gum or other items (I don’t care to know) that pop, crack and slurp. Doesn’t all that noise in the jaw block the fine art of hearing? If you feel a sneeze coming on, please cover your mouth because that wad of gum has a tendency to relocate itself into my hair or on my coat only to be discovered later. Thanks kindly for not telling me too.

The “Tip Tappers” – Primarily younger, people who text and think I can neither see, nor hear, the constant motion of your thumbs as some urgent message about nothing important is relayed to another person located only a few seats away really drives me nuts. Mutual smirks between the two of you about whatever is on the screen tells me that it is not life altering news being shared, but I do like the dramatic eye roll in response to my squint of annoyance.

The “Passers” – Equal opportunists for sure, the passers are those who decide in the middle of something crucial, that your coat can no longer be tolerated and it must be passed up and over your body to someone nearby who is not aware it is coming and therefore must make personal adjustments of their own. Go ahead, hold it up and block my view while you and the recipient discuss why it has to come over there right now.

The “Sliders” – Yes, the reason I always ask for an aisle seat is because of the sliders, the late arrivals or those who stand around in the aisle and chat until well after the lights have gone down and then ask to just “slide by” to their seat located in the middle of the row. Even if I am a dozen rows back, this blocks my view too. Because there is not much room between knees and a seat back and most of the human race are not runway models, this process often takes a bit of maneuvering.

And finally, those who annoy me beyond all others are the “Flippers”. These offenders are becoming all to frequent. Flippers feel it is necessary to open their cell phones every couple of minutes so as to look at something. Each time that happens, a bright light from your screen sends a bolt of brightness to my peripheral vision temporarily blinding me on one side. Flash photography is not allowed for a reason, but I can’t imagine that these points of light in the audience are not just as distracting. Flippers are the worst because the often morph into Tip-Tappers and Talkers.

Alas, I have no solutions to these audience dilemmas, but I have multiple theories as to why this is common and evidently acceptable behavior. Sometimes I wish all the actors or musicians would stop performing and just wait. Like a classroom teacher tired of the chit chat, stop doing what you are doing and wait until whatever disruptive audience activity has been completed. Eventually the guilty will catch on that something has happened. Maybe a good stare down from Mr. Scrooge would make a difference. (Oh, and turn up the house lights too. Better yet, maybe even move a spotlight onto these people!) I tend to think not however. The added attention may be just what they are seeking.

1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid much of this comes down to how, as a society, we have come to teach and savor the values of multi-tasking - absorbing the arts, as it were, while unwrapping our Kit-Kats at the same time, for example. It's a societal rudeness. Far too many of us have never learned how to REALLY LOOK, or REALLY LISTEN. Heaven forbid we should ask our children to meditate on something.