The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Theater Etiquette in a Digital Age

Over the weekend, we had the joy of watching our child preform in the high school musical. During the first act of the Sunday matinee, the mics used by primary cast members would occasionally cut out, dropping a word here and there. It was distracting ... although the performers soldiered on and you could still hear the dropped words. However, it did slightly diminish the enjoyment for the audience and provided unwanted distraction to the performers.

During the intermission, we found out the cause and the dire consequences of certain individuals' actions. A general announcement was made after we all had gathered for the second act. It was not the fault of the headsets or their batteries. The cut out was due entirely to the use of digital equipment by the audience to sneak pictures and videos of their child in action. It turns out, cell phones and recorders interfere with the signal from mic to booth. However, we were educated about of far worse consequence of these actions. If these illegally obtained videos were to appear on Facebook, YouTube, or other social media and be widely disseminated, the school the videos were traced back to could lose the ability to procure the rights to musicals and plays from the disseminating company for five years. Needless to say, this would cause great harm to any theatrical program--school, community, etc.

We have all gotten used to capturing "the moments of our lives," as Kodak used to say. When it comes to the theater, please restrain yourself, for the good of the theatrical organization you are patronizing. The consequences of your actions can be dire for the program and all involved. Follow theater etiquette. Turn off your electronic devices as you come into the theater. Don't be rude to everyone around you by firing up those bright, distracting screens in a darkened theater, holding whispered conversations on your phone (patrons have been removed for that egregious breach of etiquette), and sneaking pictures or videos of the performers. The consequences can be far worse than imagined.

Instead, let this be that one special realm where you trust your memory to hold onto those very special moments for the rest of your life. The most pivotal ones will stay ... and over the years will gain a glow simply impossible for any technology to reproduce.

For a previous article on the work of the dedicated staff and performers of this particular high school, see:

If you're wondering whether community theater is a good deal, see:

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