• Audience Participation Reached A Whole New Level At A Recent Hand To God Performance



    Most people attending a Broadway show would know something of theatre etiquette. You’d assume so, anyway. Basic things, such as not talking when the actors are on stage, not heckling, and not using your phone, are more points of common courtesy than anything else, but it seems that some people missed that memo.

    While there are many horror stories to be told, a recent incident at Hand to God really takes some beating.

    Apparently, just before curtain up on a recent performance, an audience member climbed on the set and tried to plug his phone into a fake electrical outlet on set, in order to charge it.

    Yes, you read that right.

    Writing on Facebook, Chris York gave the following account: “At Hand to God tonight I saw on audience member climb onto the stage right before the show and plug his cell phone into a (fake) electrical outlet on the set. ON. THE. SET. The crew had to stop the precook music, remove the cellphone, and make an announcement as to why you can’t do that. Truly. I am a quiet and reserved person and I took great joy in loudly heckling the idiot when he returned to take his phone back. Moron. Has theatre etiquette–heck, Common Sense–[really] fallen that far??”

    Cast members Sarah Stiles and Marc Kudisch posted the following tweets:

    Full kudos to Hand To God set designer, Beowulf Boritt, for designing such a realistic set in the first place but really, in what world did the man concerned ever think this was okay? Is it time so start issuing audiences with a list of rules along with their tickets?!

    The answer might be a resounding yes from some of you, so we decided to come up with our own list of unacceptable audience behaviour. (All views our own, but we are naturally always correct.)

    1: Don’t bring small people unless they can behave and sit still. 
    I say this as a mother of 3. I go to the theatre to relax and enjoy a show, not to be bothered by a child climbing over the seats in front of me and demanding very loudly to be given sweets. Pantomimes, child-orientated plays and other such shows are wonderful at catering to children and holding their interest; a production of King Lear is not.

    2: Don’t leave before the final curtain.
    It’s just rude, plain and simple. If the show is shockingly bad then you’ll know by the interval, and can discreetly make your exit then. Those performers are giving their all, even if their all isn’t that great, and the least you can do is applaud them for it. (Side note: Leaving early to be at the front of the stage door crowd is NEVER acceptable. Sit down.)

    3: Food.
    Must we? If you really think you can’t make it to the interval without eating something then please, for the love of all things, make sure it is something that doesn’t have a noisy wrapper, and doesn’t require loud munching.

    4: Talking. 
    No, you do not need to tell your companion that Jim called, and your thoughts on soldier number four’s hair can wait. Talking is really unacceptable unless it’s urgent, and by urgent, we don’t mean asking the entire row to stand up so you can get out to use the facilities, either.

    5: Don’t heckle unless it’s invited.
    Certain shows embrace it, such as Rocky Horror, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (within reason) and of course, pantomimes but some people don’t seem to understand that they really shouldn’t call out to the actors on stage during a performance. Here at UKTW we recall with abject horror the moment an actor portraying Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing arrived on stage to a roar of “Go on, Patrick!”

    So those would be our ‘rules’… We do know how to have fun though, honestly!

    Categories: Audiences, Theatres

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