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...?"


RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Last Sunday at church I saw two ladies looking back and forth at each other through most of the service. At one point as everyone stood, I saw one set down her phone, blue screen lit up and the other lady looking over to see if her message was received. I'm not a very religious person, but out of respect for those who are I think the phones should be left in the car

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 1 month ago

RoeDapple It galls me to say this, really it does, but I have had the same experience and I agree with you. Did I just write that? I was so tempted to pick up the phone and say something, but thought that would be even more disruptive.

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Someday Irish we will find common ground.............

David Klamet 9 years, 1 month ago

It occurs to me that this technology is kind of a magic mirror. By allowing you to do all these things, it shows the kind of person you are.

Now that you can "text" in church, class, etc. You can do so in an unobtrusive way. But it is not a completely hidden way so you can quietly show your disinterest and/or disrespect.

And that is exactly what their actions say "I don't care what you're doing or what's going on"

The same thing when people constantly take phone calls and ignore those with them....

John Hamm 8 years, 7 months ago

Put it simply - America is a rude society.

jonas_opines 8 years, 7 months ago

Roe, how do you know those texts weren't coming to those women from a 3rd party, like God or something?

labmonkey 8 years, 7 months ago

Too bad active cellphone jammers are illeagal. When they build schools, they should put passive cellphone jamming in.

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