Monday, January 28, 2008

I've thought about it, and I think I'm just the person to lay down the law on theatre etiquette. Not only am I the Front of House Manager at a performing arts centre, I spent my teenage years working at a movie theatre. I've seen it all - From cups of urine post-Titanic and used condoms to the basic, low-rent disruptions like candy wrappers and talkers.

Below is a list of things you should not do when you're in a theatre. Or several other places. Use your discretion and learn how to behave yourself when you leave the house.

1) Talking. Talking is wrong. Don't whisper your plotline predictions to your partner. Don't ask what the last line was if you missed it because you were checking your text messages. Move on and catch the next lines. Don't say a word. Just shut up. Sit and be utterly silent. If you're worried about your parking meter, keep it to yourself, jackass. What is your wife going to do about it while Romeo and Juliet are dying on stage? Nothing. Get over it. Pay the ticket. Also annoying: Inappropriate laughter. If you're uncomfortable with a show of emotion on-stage or screen, it is not acceptable for you to laugh. See a mental health professional. Loud, obnoxious laughter even when things are funny is also not helpful.

2) Breathing. While I understand the need, I think we all should consider how we do it. I shouldn't hear you breathe. From 30 meters away, or even from the seat next to you. Unless you're on oxygen, there is no reason for heavy breathing. Stop it.

3) Eating. I once found a woman sitting in the balcony with a tray of sushi resting on the railing. She was paying close attention to the show, but slightly more to her tuna roll. Candy, nuts, or your doggybag from dinner: None of these things should make an appearance during a live theatrical performance. No one wants to smell your leftovers. No one in your vicinity wants to hear you crunching on hard candy. And yes, theatres sell these things, but that doesn't mean you get to eat it whenever you want. Just because the Home Depot sells lawn mowers doesn't mean you can start one up and have a go around the store. Have some respect, for Christ's sake. I speak to actors on a daily basis, and they CAN HEAR YOU. If you want a piece of gum, have one before the show starts. And for the love of God, it doesn't help if you crack your Excel from its blister pack s l o w l y. It just prolongs the horrifying distraction. Pop it and chew, if you must. And no, you cannot take liquor inside. Almost everywhere. In life. That's how it is. Why are we not accustomed to this? Get over it. If you can't sit through one hour of theatre without a beer, I am not the one you should be upset with - You should call a therapist and figure out who fucked you up as a child.

4) Moving. You should not be shifting. You should not be moving loud fabrics around. You should not be tapping your knees or clicking your heels or creaking your chair. If you get a creaky chair, that's unfortunate, and I do sympathize, but once you discover that it's creaky, you should make it your business to find the position at which the chair is silent and stay there. You seem to be able to do this when you're lazing around on your sofa, immobile for hours on end, why not here? Do not kick the back of the seat ahead of you. Do not grab the back of the seatback ahead of you to lift your own fat ass up and out of the theatre. Do not touch anyone else. Do not tap your programme or rustle its pages. If you have to go as far as to leave the theatre, think long and hard. Those actors can see you. The people around you don't want to be seen because you can't hold it. What are you, 9? Hold it. The show will not go on forever. Is it really an emergency?

5) Blackberry-ing. Do I even have to say this?

1 comment:

  1. Rules: The TRULY first instalment (with only one "l")...