Joining the Vance Lauderdale Fan Club.
As the other actor who was onstage when this happened, I have to admit that I can see both sides of the debate. Normally I don’t believe in ever breaking character, and I probably wouldn’t have done so if I had been up there by myself; my instinct would have been to pause and wait for the damned thing to stop ringing.
But in Tony’s defense, I really need to clarify that Next Stage is a very small space--- not at all like TM’s large auditorium. Everyone is in folding chairs on bleachers, and the front row (where the phone was) sits right on the stage with us. And this wasn’t just a faint “brr brrr” in someone’s purse, either--- it was just like someone’s old Bakelite rotary phone was on the table between us. Most people set their phones to ring only 2-3 times, but hers rang at least 10 times at FULL VOLUME. When it first started, it was so loud I thought the crew was accidentally sending a sound cue through the big speakers. There was no way of knowing when, or if, it was ever going to stop. The woman wasn’t moving a muscle to do anything about it.
And it happened during a very quiet and poignant scene in the show, not during a loud, boisterous scene when it could have been ignored. With all those factors, I can understand why Tony did what he did. We quickly went on with the scene and I think people were so wrapped up in the story by then that they were able to jump back in with us.
This incident really highlights the increasingly important question of how to get people to turn the damned things off, and what to do when they don’t. Since this happened, we’ve heard from many other performers who have been disrupted by phones during THEIR shows. IMO, theaters should hammer the point harder. Post signs, including a large one at the box office, and mention it two or three times during the curtain speech. (And tell them “vibrate” doesn’t count because that’s often just as loud as a ring.) Get stern about it and make SURE people understand to dig out their phones and TURN THEM OFF! Then maybe actors won’t be put in the terrible position of deciding what to do when a show is being rudely disrupted.
I'm a native Memphian who lived in St. Louis for several years. I often visited the Arch and the riverfront and never saw more than a stray gum wrapper on the ground. Why, WHY must Memphis continue to waste money on overpaid "leaders" and pie-in-the-sky projects while utterly neglecting the basics like trash pickup? As a PR professional, I have a message for those concerned: what little money you're "saving" by not cleaning up is NOT worth what it will cost you in bad publicity and lost tourism dollars.
Where in the article does it say the Flyer attempted to contact Code Enforcement for a response? Did I miss that?
I would post a comment, but I am laughing too hard at the previous comments. :)
Just wondering if the "Day" photographer was any relation to the family that now owns the Hunt-Phelan Home.
My Vance calendar is over my work desk, where I can look at it all day long, every day!
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By Louis Goggans
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