Sunday, November 28, 2010

Boundaries and Theatre

I just came from seeing Different Stages' production of "Morning's at Seven" at The Vortex.  It's a nice show, performed by actors who have more grit than I can imagine.  Let me 'splain. 

It's about these two girls, sitting up in the back next to the booth. These two drunk girls, who brought their own bottle of wine.  These two drunk college girls, there for a grade.  The reason we know they are college girls is that they told us.  Or, to be precise, I overheard one of them telling the Stage Manager at the first intermission that, no, they were not going to leave.  They had paid for their tickets the same as everyone else had, and they were staying.  Twenty-five per cent of their grades depended upon their seeing this performance, and that was that.

The reason they were being asked to settle down or leave just might have had something to do with their loud and spontaneous remarks addressed to the characters in the play.

Yes, Dearly Beloved, they came in drunk, wielding a bottle of wine.  They talked and giggled well into the first act, finally subsiding to whispers...until the Classic Controlling Male entered the stage.  That was when they began to yell..."Weirdo!"  "Control freak!"  "Asshole!"  People tried to shush them, but they were waxing belligerent.  One of them left to go to the Wymyn's room, and came back.  Twice.  This is a fairly small theater, not a place where one could inconspicuously slip out the back door.


For years, at Sam Bass, we had a crayoned poster mounted on the Annex wall.  It was a contest winner where a small child had written out the rules of Audience Etiquette.  There was quite a list of rules, but it boiled down to "Come in, sit down and shut up.  When the show is over, clap."

I do believe the girls had missed the memo.  They settled back to a grumpy whispering during the second act, and finally...or not so finally...left at the second intermission.  I say "not so," because one of them came back after the show, looking for her keys.

Do we not teach manners any more?  Are these boors typical of what passes for young ladies?  Even if they had never been to a play in their lives, wouldn't there be a certain amount of common courtesy that would tell them that shouting, "Asshole!" at an actor on stage, during a performance was Not a Nice Thing to Do?  How in the world can they grow up with no sense of where they end and the rest of the world begins?

As another patron said at Intermission, this was not "Rocky Horror."  Or the Dead Bob Show at the Renaissance Festival.

I am almost (but not quite) speechless.


  1. OUTRAGEOUS! They must have been raised by wolves. You would think that a professor who would make attending a play 25% of their grade would also teach them about how they should behave in a theater and make that part of their grade as well. For the love of PETE! I prolly would have got in a fight.

    Sorry about the texts, I frogot about your play. Self-absorbed, I guess ...

  2. It's OK, Mija. You've got a lot on your mind. Funny, somebody else said that same thing about the girls having been raised by wolves. I maintained that, if that had been the case, they would have beena lot better behaved than they were. The problem is that they were raised by members of the "Me Generation" to think of themselves as "princesses."

  3. Too bad somebody didn't catch what school those girls were from. I'll bet the professor would also be shocked to hear about their behavior, and would be happy to give them an "F" for 25% of their grade.

  4. Yeah...I would like to know that, as well!

  5. Roddy, I have a 3-year-old grandson who knows how to behave in a theater...better than those two!

  6. unfortunately the "newer" generations have reverted to animalistic (is that a word?) tendencies. I would not have been able to stop my fingers from dialing the police,public intoxication IS against the law! I too would love to know what school they attend..
    I am so sorry they ruined the play for everyone. I can not believe that the people running the theater did not call the police to have them removed. A nice ticket to pay might have taught them a lesson in etiquette!
    BTW yeah Ronni..I'm still around! lol

  7. Terri, anything we could have done would have increased the level of disturbance, and the opposite was the desired effect.