I realize that there are some people out there who weren’t raised by two actors. I realize that there are people out there who don’t regularly go to theatre. I realize there are people out there who think that theatre is a dying art form and OMG did you see what Kim Kardashian did?!?!
But I believe that everyone can find a play or a musical that moves and inspires them. I invite everyone and anyone to anoint themselves in the majesty and inimitable magic that is live theatre.
That all being said, I feel like there is a very basic level of human decency that has somehow gotten lost. Old people will blame the young people. Young people will blame the decaying establishment. Arty people will blame the unwashed masses. I don’t really care whose fault it is. The Classy Dame is about to help y’all out in a big way. Ready? Here goes.
I was recently in a one-act that went on to a regional theatre festival. For months, we worked very hard on this show — The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder, for those interested. It’s basically a time lapse of 90 years of Christmas dinners for an American family. People were children, got married, grew old, and then finally passed on all on stage. We went through several on-stage, on-the-sly costume changes as different fashions and eras came and went. It was a lot of fun to choreograph, but still a lot of work.
Before going to the festival, we put the show up for one weekend so that we could get a feel for the audience’s reaction before performing it before the judges. We invited our friends and family to come see it, the community supported us in the local paper, it was all very nice, lovey dovey, supporty-worty and all that stuff.
During the 45 minute show, two cellphones went off AND some idiot was taking photos with their camera phone.
We’re all very impressed at how much the internet and the outside world is DYING to hear from you on a constant basis.
Seriously. Good for you. I sometimes go days without anyone giving a shit what I have to say so, really, that’s truly impressive.
But let me keep it simple. SHUT OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE.
And if you are so moved by what’s happening on stage that you simply must Instagram it, could you please wait until after the show and then clamor outside my dressing room with flowers and/or bribes of sexual favors like how it’s SUPPOSED to be?!
I mean for God’s sake, does this really still need to be explained?
Even for movie theatres, which aren’t as sacred to me as a regular theatre (though I do have friends who would vehemently disagree), I still think this is relevant advice. I have sat through rated R film where people bring in infants. Most notably? Cabin in the Woods. YEAH. I’ve been in movie theatres where people spend the film texting or even do that ridiculous thing of ANSWERING THEIR PHONE in order to say in a sotto voice, “Yeah, I’m in a movie, what’s up?” Sadly, I’m almost surprised when stupid shit like that doesn’t happen. And while the other movie-goers are going to be annoyed, at least George Clooney isn’t going to have to pause awkwardly because he was previously competing with your stupid sailor shanty ringtone.
But in LIVE THEATRE, the thing is, the thing is, folks, it’s LIVE. And the actors can see you. And hear you.
And I’m not saying that actors are always riveting or that the script is always good or that the music is always on key or the lights are going to go up at the right time (incidentally, none of those things apply to the show *I* was in, because we were fricken awesome), but there are human beings on stage who have created something for you. And you, theoretically, have willingly come and paid to see it. So don’t you think you owe your fellow human beings taking part in one of humanity’s oldest art forms the simple courtesy of turning off your damn phone?!
- Also, 1995 wants its ringtone back.