The Interweb Star of the 21st Century!
Will we have a swimming pool on August 25th?
I just love Sister Myotis!
This is a review from the show, I told you about. I have emailed Bill Baker, and will try to get you a script soon.
It was a true labor of love.
I'm a little late to this party, but I guess "if you haven't read it"...oh, nevermind. I think MiSC's post above is interesting in that everyone except Jackman, Craig & Spacey are considered by many theatre-goers to be arrogant @holes - and their responses to this "crisis" do nothing to contradict this opinion.
Anybody can make a mistake and many people freeze-up when put on the spot. I'd hate to alienate someone - or everyone - in the audience by treating the offender as less than human simply because she forgot to turn off her phone. The best response is to temporarily break the wall and ask the person to kindly silence her phone, which is exactly what Tony did, more or less. Any harsher response is proof of asinine egotism and inferior parentage.
Loved Jellerson in Twelfth Night. Sorry I missed this production.
If Chris is too old to report on this, then I'm too old to read it!
Call me old fashioned, but reading the list would take much less time than watching a 15-minute video. Nevertheless, congrats to all the nominees.
It's the Orpheum's quadrennial attempt to score some younger season ticket holders by not doing an all Rogers & Hammerstein / Andrew Lloyd Webber season. They'll revert back to their more banal offerings next year (but in the meantime I'm planning a road trip for Book of Mormon; much like my road trip for the pretty-okay-if-slight Zorro last weekend.)
It's the new 30, I hear. But I'm probably too old to even report on this.
"Young" theater-goers, age 40?!?!?
I'm with you BL: It's good to have this conversation: to monologue, dialogue, like and dislike. After so many threads that go: "The critics an asshole" "am not" "are too" "nuh uh" it's exciting to see a forum where even people who agree, agree differently. And, the binary condition of like/dislike notwithstanding, respectfully.
Right or wrong, thank you for launching the conversation @Tony Isbell.
Totally with Tony on this one. We had two similar disruptions during the recent TM production of A Chorus Line: one cell phone that would not stop ringing and one lady with Alzheimers who kept loudly saying "HURRY HURRY HURRY HURRY HURRY" over and over. And I can tell you that it takes everyone, performers and audience alike, out of the moment. Tony didn't break anything that wasn't already broken. Fortunately, we were on the main stage, and had ushers who could, and did, escort the offending parties out. That's not possible in the Next Stage space. I'm actually impressed by Tony's composure in that situation because I don't know that I could have been as civil.
"Bravo to most of the people commenting on this article" ...
It is interesting to see how a little thing like asking for opinions can bring out the dualism and the "dislikes". Get over it, already. Even if Diana Rigg stopped a performance to correct an audience member, it lends no credence to the activity. Maybe it's right, and maybe it's wrong, and maybe it depends on the circumstance. And maybe it embarrassed that lady so much she won't be back, and maybe she's been a season ticket holder for years who just absent-mindedly forgot to turn off her phone and was so petrified that she hoped the situation would correct itself. Which it did, apparently -- by the time the performance had been stopped and everyone had been made to feel uncomfortable.
I've attended enough performances at TM to know that the crowd is older than what you encounter elsewhere. How old was this woman? It makes a difference. I hope she wasn't one of the ladies I see creeping through the lobby at a glacial pace whenever I attend a performance. This same thing happened at my church recently while the minister was preaching, but the phone wasn't ringing. It was speaking the time. I guess it was time for that lady to take a pill or something.
I think the woman should have been ushered out of the theatre. Let everyone stare at her while it's happening. I also think posters should be in the lobby and at point of sale outlining this policy.
Bet she won't forget to silence it before the next performance.
Bravo Tony Isbell, and bravo to most of the people commenting on this article.
For those concerned that Tony broke character and smashed through the 4th wall, trust me - every single audience member had already been taken out of the moment by those 12 (15?) cell phone rings.
If you're a theatre nut and keep up a little, you'll probably know that some famous folks have had to do exactly the same thing during their own live productions.
Daniel Craig: "You wanna get that?"
Kevin Spacey: "Tell them you're busy."
Laurence Fishburne: "Will you turn off that f_______ phone, please?"
Brian Dennehy: "Alright, let's stop. We'll wait while you find your phone and turn it off, have your conversation, whatever it is, but we'll just wait."
Hugh Jackman: "You want to get that?" But like the audience member in Tony's story, the offender did nothing to quiet the ringing. Jackman finally said, "Grab it. I don't care, grab it. Grab your phone, it doesn't matter."
Patti Lupone not only stopped the show when an audience member snapped three flash photos during her performance, she had the offender removed from the theatre.
Kudos to them all.
I ask you: Do the actors on Memphis stages have less of a responsibility to their audiences than the big names? Tony showed the extent of his professionalism by following through with the responsibility he took on when he committed to this production: He protected the performance.
As you've heard and maybe even said, live theatre is not television or a movie in a cinema. The actors are real, live people, and they can hear and see you just like you can hear and see them. They respond to their audiences' reactions - not only by insisting that a phone be shut off, but by sensing what *this* particular audience is like. Are they laughing at every single joke, or are they a little quieter than last night's group? Is it a house full of 5-year-olds, or a house full of 70-year-olds? Surely even a non-performer could guess that the energy in two such disparate houses would be wildly different. The performance is adjusted, whether consciously or subconsciously, by everyone on the stage. Not so with a movie.
Live theatre is a joint venture. Without actors, there is no play. Without an audience, there is no play. The audience trusts that the performers have rehearsed themselves to bloody stumps for weeks or even months to get it right and entertain them. The actors trust that the audience members will: Turn the phones and beeping watches off. Not sit there with the light of a smartphone shining up while they check your messages. Leave the cellophane wrappers at home. Forget the photos and videos. Not talk. Reschedule his or her reservation if they have a cough or a particularly sniffly nose.
Each audience member agrees to protect that performance just as sincerely as the cast, crew, and theatre staff. From the moment the tickets are placed in his or her hand until the curtain call is over, the audience members are expected to hold up their end of the deal.
That give and take, that trust, is the very reason live theatre still exists.
The rules may be foreign to some, but really, are they anything more than common courtesy?
I always say, "Fourth walls are made to be broken." I can imagine no theatrical circumstance when it wouldn't be better for everyone concerned for an actor to stop the show, acknowledge the disturbance of which everyone in the room is acutely aware, deal with it, and then get back to the play. it is curious to me that there should be a "debate" at all about Tony's choice, or that theatrical protocol remains such that Tony should have the slightest qualm about doing it. Congratulations, Tony, on "losing your virginity". Maybe its conflicts like this that will help to break the walls between spectators and performers and help us to embrace the fact that we are collaborators, not contestants, in this art form.
I think Tony did what he felt he had to in that moment and had I been an audience member I would have been more than understanding with his stopping the play to address what was obviously an idiot sitting in the audience. At the same time I've had the embarrasing moment of my phone going off during a show, not because I forgot to turn it off, but because buttons can be pushed while dropping it back into a purse. Accidents do happen. The big difference between myself and this woman would be her not JUMPING to turn the darn thing off.
I will add one more thing to this thread. I was asked by a friend what the audience reaction was when I did this. I told her the audience didn't APPLAUD or anything like that, but on the other hand we didn't "lose" them either. We went right back to the scene and finished the play, which only had 8 or 10 minutes left at that point. We got the same kind of reaction we always get at the end: some laughter mixed with some tears. So I don't think my stopping the performance disrupted the show or "took people out of it". Another friend who was there that afternoon congratulated me on being able to get back into the scene and finish the play with no discernible effect on my performance. A third friend told me her mother had seen the show that day, thought it was wonderful, and also thought I did absolutely the right thing. So. It's all anecdotal, but there you have it.
And BTW, if you haven't seen SYLVIA yet, we have four more performances this weekend. We'd love to see you there. And I'll try not to stop the show....
By Hannah Sayle, Chris Herrington, Chris Shaw, Louis Goggans, Greg Akers, Bruce VanWyngarden, Jackson Baker and John Branston
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