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?
Hey CD, the full URL is: http://www.theatrememphis.org/palmer/
A Paypal option is available, but no Paypal account is required for donation. You will receive a donor giving statement attached to the emailed acknowledgement of your contribution.
You hear it all the time, but honestly, no donation is too small. If every audience member touched by Jo Lynne's extraorinary performances, and every actor who's been granted the gift of being on stage with her contributed even $5 -- she'd be rolling in dough.
And remember, if you think you're too small to affect things, you've never tried to sleep with a mosquito in the room.
Hey, here's the full link: http://www.theatrememphis.org/palmer/ No Paypal account is required. You will receive a donor statement with the emailed acknowledgement of your contribution.
Thanks CD. Thanks for that.
I noticed that on the online guestbook at the funeral home's site, there's the image of a dove. I couldn't help but notice the connection.
At the moment he was chattering with the good sister, he was skipping yet another meeting with Obama, who was in MS again dealing with the spill.
Kathy Bates went to White Station.
I've never met anyone more right than the eloquent Sister Myotis. Amen!
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