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An idea for audience etiquette


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#16 dirac

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 04:23 PM

One problem with ushers -- many ushers in regional arts centers are volunteers, often a bit elderly, and not professionally trained to handle this.




They need to bring in a few burly bar bouncers.

#17 Helene

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 04:46 PM

They need to bring in a few burly bar bouncers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't think the average person with a big ego and a bigger sense of entitlement would obey a civil servant without a weapon and a court system behind him or her. I've seen those thick Plexiglas windows at the DMV.

Ushers have house management, but, in my opinion, too often, "the customer is always right," while another set of patrons is livid that nothing is done (mea culpa), not knowing that the ushers' hands have been tied.

I like the idea of having a very large, glowering person to back up a usher and to take no guff.

#18 E Johnson

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 07:20 AM

Again,  it shows that there will be many exceptions.  But, it came down to the fact that Mr. Johnson did his homework. And knew his child's capabilities. My girls were around 4 when they sat down for their 1st opera(1act only) or a ballet. But there are alot of parents who don't have a clue about what they are doing when bringing their child to a theater like the MET.

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Not to nitpick, but I'm a Ms. Johnson.

#19 richard53dog

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 09:38 AM

The "but I spent $100 on these seats, including one for Kid, and I'm not leaving now" or "It would break Older Child's heart to leave because Younger Child is crying" arguments doesn't hold water, although they hold sway.  One of the tradeoffs of training children for the theater is the willingness to bail when the child is unable to behave properly, and to consider the tickets a sunk cost, and to prepare Older Child for the possibility.  (Don't bet what you're not willing to lose.)  To the argument that then the child has "won," perhaps, the battle, but not the war, which is a longer-term prospect, and it could be a while before the child is invited to the next performance.

Teaching a child to behave in the theater is a process, and teaching mode is about the student and the "material."  If the teacher/parent gets to see a performance in the process, that's gravy.

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Helene, I agree with much that has been said here regarding small children that don't have manners needed for a theater event.

But last night I was at ABT and these two ladies next to me chattered through much of act 1. They finally did quiet down before I had to get an usher but it made me wonder, how can kids behave quietly when adults nearby don't?


Maybe this is snobby but too many audiences seem to have people in them that behave as they would in their living room watching TV. This turns me off at movies too.

Richard

#20 Helene

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 09:54 AM

Maybe this is snobby but too many audiences seem to have people in them that behave as they would in their living room watching TV. This turns me off at movies too.

Richard

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I could not agree with you more.

#21 christine174

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 05:58 PM

For those of you who attended last Saturday's matinee and had to contend with the crying babies and children, you may be interested to know that I called the Metropolitan Opera house, spoke to someone in customer service who was very sympathetic to my complaints and urged anyone concerned to send in a letter, that this will be taken seriously by management. Letters should go to:
Issue Management Department
The Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023

#22 fandeballet

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 09:50 PM

Here! Here! I agree with with Richard 100%

Sorry Ms. Johnson :wink: :flowers:

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 03:57 AM

Again,  it shows that there will be many exceptions.  But, it came down to the fact that Mr. Johnson did his homework. And knew his child's capabilities. My girls were around 4 when they sat down for their 1st opera(1act only) or a ballet. But there are alot of parents who don't have a clue about what they are doing when bringing their child to a theater like the MET.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Not to nitpick, but I'm a Ms. Johnson.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


And while I'm Mr. Johnson, I'm an old bachelor, and so have no children, well, none to speak of. :blink:

#24 Herman Stevens

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:00 AM

Boy, I don't know what's going on at the MET, but either things are really bad, or some people are just too sensitive.

Here in Amsterdam people are usually quiet and appreciative, no "waahooo's!" whatsoever, and I love shows with children in the audience. Don't you just love it when kids try to mimick the moves in intermission time? One of my funniest memories is a performance of Petrushka and Les Sylphides. In the intermission after Petrushka I spotted an eight-year old boy clawing the walls in the lobby in an effort to be like Petrushka.

Les Sylphides is arguably the world's most boring ballet for kids, and I remember a girl (one of two blonde siblings) who'd had it after the mazurka and turned her back on the show staring at the dark audience for the rest of the piece - quiet as a mouse.

#25 Hans

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:20 AM

Hm, come to think of it, I don't remember loud cheering at the opera in Lausanne, but my memory may not be accurate.

There are times when children do cute/non-annoying things, (at WB's "Where the Wild Things Are" a small girl loudly whispered to her mother, "This is a long movie!") but then I recall the time when I took the train from New York to DC to see the Nutcracker. I arrived in time for Act II, and when the Sugarplum Fairy started her variation, a child behind me started loudly humming along :blink: I turned around, gave her a look that would have frozen water in July, and she was silent for the rest of the evening.

#26 E Johnson

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 05:24 AM

Here in Amsterdam people are usually quiet and appreciative, no "waahooo's!" whatsoever, and I love shows with children in the audience.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I agree, assuming well-behaved children (of course including mine :blink: since they are removed if they act up). I have had one child not only kick my seat but repeatedly push my coat over my head, then try to leave by crawling down the aisle -- and when his parents were asked to remove him, they did audibly complain that it was too much to pay for a babysitter on top of the tickets. On the other hand, I've yet to see a child take a phone call during a performance.

#27 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 09:19 PM

For those of you who attended last Saturday's matinee and had to contend with the crying babies and children, you may be interested to know that I called the Metropolitan Opera house, spoke to someone in customer service who was very sympathetic to my complaints and urged anyone concerned to send in a letter, that this will be taken seriously by management. Letters should go to:
Issue Management Department
The Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Also, there are supposed to be ushers in the house during the performance who should be helping to maintain quiet and order (you shouldn't have to police the place yourself). If they're not there, or not doing their job, you should tell the house manager during intermission. From time to time I've had to do this, and it has almost always brought a helpful result.

#28 Helene

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 07:25 AM

While on the BalletMet website, I found this:

(From the Home Page, click "Performances" from the upper right menu, then select "Frequently Asked Questions from the left menu.)

Can I bring my children?

    Children are always welcome at BalletMet, however, not all ballets are suitable for children of all ages. Please carefully consider the performance and the maturity of your child when making the final decision on this matter. Please note that every one must have a purchased seat, no lap sitting is allowed. An usher will ask any patron who is crying or disruptive to exit the theatre.


That last sentence made me want to weep.

#29 fandeballet

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 08:43 AM

It just saddens me when Anthony NYC puts the blame all on the ushers, when many times things are happening, which should NEVER happen. Like cellphones going off in the theater. People taking pictures
during the performance. Noisy unwrapping of candy or whatever. Talking throughout a performance. And these are things ADULTS ARE DOING!!!!!!!!! Yes, ushers should try to enforce the rules, and be on post to do just that. But if you think that enforcement is the ultimate solution, I just don't agree. People should come into any ballet, opera or show, and EXPECT THEIR FELLOW AUDIENCE MEMBERS TO BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS, at the very least!!!!!!!!

#30 carbro

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 10:15 AM

At a recent ABT matinee, an usher (one I didn't recognize from before) was particularly aggressive -- I mean, effective -- in silencing a compulsive candy-unwrapping patron. Good job, new usher! :blink:


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