"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882)

Monday, February 23, 2009


Yesterday MacKenzie finally got to see Rent! She's been a huge fan of the soundtrack ~ I realized she has memorized every.single.word on that soundtrack (if you know some of the words, that's not necessarily a good thing!) ~ and had watched the movie countless times. Finally she got to do what she's been wanting to do for over two years (she became interested about a week after it left the Detroit area the last time it was here ~ she has her father's timing)...Santa brought her a ticket to yesterday's matinee performance.

She was in heaven and enjoyed every minute of it ~ and so did I it was great to see it again. Now she wants to be Mimi for Halloween next year ~ oh my!

On another note, same basic subject....where did simple theatre etiquette go? Granted, it was a matinee performance and there were a ton of high school aged kids there, the bulk of the audience ranged from about 15-30 years old; but wouldn't this be a great time to teach students about how to behave in public?

My first gripe....dressing for the performace. If I had a dollar for every kid in jeans & a t-shirt or hoodie, I'd have a nice little stack of cash, but add the number of adults dressed that way...I'd be rich! I mean seriously, come on, I'm not asking for formal wear, but maybe some casual dress pants & a decent shirt.

Second gripe...stay in your flippin' seat. You paid a minimum of $45 for the damn ticket...watch the show! I will say I was surprised, I expected more up & down from people, but there was one person that got up with only 2 songs left in the first act to use the bathroom (I assume, he wasn't gone very long). We were in the first row of the balcony so most movement didn't affect us, we had the main wide aisle between the mezzanine & the balcony in front of us, but of course this guy was sitting in the mezzanine right in front of us so his big fat head blocked us twice. There was another one that got up during the second act, but his cell phone rang and you know...gotta answer that ~ he better have been a doctor. The worst part was that it was during a time when Mark (Anthony Rapp, original Broadway cast member) was addressing the audience and he appeared to have noticed the movement up there.

Third gripe...don't text during the performance. This one really got me. Great everyone turned off their phones so no ringing during the performance, but hello, when you open your phone & start texting in a dark theatre, the light your phone gives off is a tad distracting. The far section of the mezzanine was empty, they sold upward instead of sideways it appears. During the first act it was empty, but handful of people moved down there for the second act from up top. I swear, one guy texted the entire second act. WTF??? Everytime he flipped open his phone my eye was drawn to the light. Very freaking annoying.

Fourth & final gripe...sit still in your seat and shut up! The girl behind me (wearing a hoodie & jeans) couldn't sit still. She pounded on my back with her knees & feet the entire performance. At one point my hair got caught between the seat & her knee and I almost gave myself a bald spot when I moved my head. Also, the girl next to her started to sing along to one of the songs. Uh, I paid to hear them sing, not you. Mack noticed it too so I turned around & shot her a look of death....she shut up instantly.

I don't want to sound like a theatre snob, but I thought most of this was just common sense/decency. I know, I know, there is no such thing as common sense any more. I just think that if you teach it young and don't give any other options, then gee maybe it will stick into adulthood. Just so frustrating.

We see the same problem at our middle school band concerts. I remember being in band in middle school and we lined up in the band room in our order. Walked into the gym (where the concert was held) silently; stood in front of our seats until everyone was there then got the cue to sit. We all sat quietly, set up our music on the stand and waited for the band teacher to start us playing. The parents sat quietly and listened and it was all taken very seriously as if we were at Orchestra Hall instead of the school gym. Mike had essentially the same experience.

Mack's band teacher...not even an ounce of that kind of respect for the performance & the adults behavior during the concert shows that. The kids all come in whenever they show up, chat, screw around, etc (heck, the first chair alto sax showed up to the last concert about 3 seconds before they were about to begin and had to dig a chair out of the back because they'd taken it away thinking she wasn't coming). The band director comes in cracks a few jokes to them, cracks a few to the audience and they start. The parents in the audience act accordingly, they get up and walk across the front of the stage in the middle of a song, they answer their cell phones and everything in-between. You should see Mike & I crawling out of our skin during the concerts. To top it off it'd be one thing if they played really good, but I've posted videos, judge for yourself... I'm not saying Mack is a prodigy, she needs some work, but she takes private lessons and sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my money because she's stuck in that type of a program. Fortunately the HS band director runs a much better program (and I'm not saying that just because he's my boss!) and he agrees with our assessment of the MS band director, though I don't know if I can make it through another year of this til we get to the high school. But what can you do?

I guess I just answered my own question of where the rude behavior at the theatre comes from huh? I guess I can just do my part to teach my kids and bite my tongue and deal with the rest of the morons on the planet...so not fair, but what else can I do?

Sorry so long, thanks for reading!


Animal said...

You'll find a big sympathizer with your gripes here! Only in my case, those same gripes take the form of classroom civility. Used to be, we'd make sure we peed BEFORE class, and pinch it off for the last 10 minutes if we had to. Now I get kids up & out of their seats all the time, either to piss or to answer their cells…and I KNOW I'm the only Dr. in the room! And now that the whole campus is hot for wi-fi, I get all kinds of kids lugging their laptops to the classroom; great note-taking tool, sure, but when I turn the lights off to show a video clip I can see those monitor screens all over the classroom. I'm pretty sure they're not taking notes on the film! I actually reminded them the other day that their "participation" points don't simply mean attendance; if I see you fartin' around on your computer during a movie clip, I mark you down…you're NOT participating!

There. Two gripers. Yay for more positive energy in the universe!!

L*I*S*A said...

Hey, Scott...one of our nursing instructors told us the first day of class that if she heard our cell phones ring, not only would she take it from us for the remainder of the class, but she would answer it and take a message.

Loved her.