LJWorld.com weblogs In the Dark
Turn it off, really, seriously...off!!
During our school theatrical productions, I am usually backstage managing students. My assistant supervises the students in the booth running sound and lights, and so has a great vantage point when it comes to seeing what is going on in the audience. After opening night of our spring production, he made the following plea to our teenage cast and crew members: Tell your friends that they at least owe you the respect and courtesy to not sit in the audience and text while you are performing your heart out on stage.
I echoed the same plea to the audience during my pre-show curtain speech that night, and got a round of applause -- from parents, I assume.
Seems like we as a society just can't put the cell phone away, or even bear to turn it off. I could understand if people in the audience were super-duper top secret government agents and had to rush off to save the world on a moment's notice, or even if parents kept their phones on to be in quick reach of a babysitter at home, but let's face it -- most of us don't have any real life or death need to be in constant communication with the outside world for the time it takes to watch the average play. See, what makes theatre unique is immersing oneself in the experience of the here and now, which one cannot fully appreciate when deciphering the latest "hey wt r u doin?" message flashing in the dark. Not to mention that everyone next to and behind the person with the phone is distracted by the blue light illuminating that area of the darkened house.
It's disruptive! It's disrespectful to the audience as well as to the performers! And, despite what some people think, it really does interfere with some of our sound equipment in the theater (which I found out firsthand last fall during a dress rehearsal). So to those who feel they ought to be hard-wired into life outside the building they're in: stop and think about the moments happening in front of you that you're missing out on while you stare at that little blue screen. And have a good answer when your friend asks "Hey did you see me on stage when I...?"