Jump to content


Audience behaviorany especially bad examples recently?


  • Please log in to reply
74 replies to this topic

#1 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:36 AM

You hear lots of complaints about the behavior of audiences in all sorts of performances. Movies, of course, are the worst. But I guess my experience with ballet and opera, as well as serious theater, have been pretty lucky so far. Which is why WindFlyer's comment on the Kirov-Maryinsky - Orange County, CA, thread -- was an eye opener.

Let me start with a rant... This was one of the worst audiences I've had the displeasure of seeing a performance with in a very long time... Crying babies, chirping cell phones, murmur of conversation well into the first few minutes after every intermission, untimely applause—when Vishneva lined for the start of the fouettés, the audience started clapping before a note sounded ... It came very close to ruining a good afternoon of ballet for me.

:clapping:
Babies? (They can afford the tickets?) Cell phones? (Well, that's not really a surprise, though around here peple tend to wait until the instant they hit the lobby, leading to an awful lot of solitary individuals wandering around during intermission gabbling and gesticulating into empty space.)

Richard Wagner -- trainer of audiences who sat in silence in complete darkness, while focusing every particle of their being on what was taking place on the stage -- would be appalled. And, with the current high price of tickets, so am I.

Any other stories of particularly bad audience behavior at the ballet?

#2 Mme. Hermine

Mme. Hermine

    Emeralds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,707 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:09 AM

:clapping: I once saw a teenager in an orchestra seat at the Metropolitan Opera, during an intermission, take off his shoes and rest bare feet on top of the seat in front of him.

#3 Giannina

Giannina

    Gold Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:23 AM

Somewhere in the Archives there's a thread on a topic similar to this one and some of the posts are hilarious. I agree with WindFlyer about the audiences at the Orange County Kirov tour; I was at 4 performances and the audience was impossible at all 4. At one Swan Lake they applauded the lights dimming at Act I.

Giannina

#4 Mashinka

Mashinka

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,164 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 07:52 AM

It's probably very un-p.c. to mention this, but at Sadlers Wells I'm told they have an 'inclusivity' policy that allows people with severe mental problems into performances. All highly laudable, but the reality is that performances suffer from frequent disturbances from the audience. There were a number of shouts and cries during a BRB performance there on Tuesday night and on another occasion I heard someone howl like an animal throughout the entire show. I feel it is time to question the wisdom of this.

#5 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,348 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 11:05 AM

I was sitting behind a fairly large party of 20-somethings at a performance of the Bolshoi here a couple years ago, who were all text messaging during the performance. They'd silenced their various phones and PDAs, but as they typed and read their messages, they kept flashing their screens around, and the backlighting was just like a flashlight as it glared in my eyes.

#6 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,248 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 11:13 AM

at Sadlers Wells I'm told they have an 'inclusivity' policy that allows people with severe mental problems into performances. All highly laudable, but the reality is that performances suffer from frequent disturbances from the audience. There were a number of shouts and cries during a BRB performance there on Tuesday night and on another occasion I heard someone howl like an animal throughout the entire show.

That sounds like something from Saturday Night Live (a satiric American television comedy show).

#7 Mme. Hermine

Mme. Hermine

    Emeralds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,707 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 11:23 AM

Or in this case, Not the Nine O'Clock News!

#8 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:13 PM

I was sitting behind a fairly large party of 20-somethings at a performance of the Bolshoi here a couple years ago, who were all text messaging during the performance. They'd silenced their various phones and PDAs, but as they typed and read their messages, they kept flashing their screens around, and the backlighting was just like a flashlight as it glared in my eyes.

I had a similar experience at an Ailey performance, but the "children" complied when asked to "turn off the lights." A bit resentfully, but they did comply.

#9 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:47 PM

One more example of multi-tasking, I suppose. (Unless they were text messaging their reviews to make particularly early deadlines at the Times.)

One of the things that divides us increasingly, I think, is the way in which "paying attention" means so many different things to different people. Is this kind of behavior a variation of "keeping one eye on the clock" for people who don't want to be there anyway? Or do they really believe that they are being fully attentive to what is going on?

I am at one far end of the spectrum: I simply cannot break away from the old patterns of aiming at 100% concentration on the performance, at least where serious art is concerned. Nor can I understand why anyone would bother to purchase tickets, take valuable time, and travel some distance to a theater only to disregard and miss a great deal of what is being performed in front of them.

#10 mmded

mmded

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 80 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 01:23 PM

Just last week we sat behind a couple who could not keep their hands off one another and kept exchanging passionate kisses constantly. I thought that was annoying until that stopped when she had a violent coughing spell for many minutes. The woman beside me finally leaned forward to offer her a cough candy which she declined and then took produced one of her own. :clapping:

#11 Estelle

Estelle

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,706 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 03:02 PM

It was not at a ballet, but last week-end at the cinema (showing an Iranian film "Café transit" (Border café)), there was a old gentleman who fall asleep from the first minute of the film and who snored VERY loudly during ALL the film. At first, the snoring noises caused some giggles in the audience, but after a while it really became annoying, especially in all the quiet scenes when the snoring was sometimes louder than the dialogues... I guess most of the audience regretted that his neighbors didn't dare to wake him up.

#12 SanderO

SanderO

    Silver Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 621 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 03:23 PM

Several years ago we attended the Met Opera on a Monday evening. Directly behind us was an elderly fella who was obviously plagued with a cough and cold and sneezed and coughed right behind us almost continuously. It was awful and so terribly distracting.

My reaction was that it was rude of him to subject others to his interruptions and his germs!

I complained to the house manager at the first intermission. They could obviously not eject someone for sneezing and coughing, but they provided us comp seats (much better) in the parterre I recall. Apparently Monday night is when the most "old timers" show up and so I now try to avoid Monday nights at the Met for that reason... sick elderly people who are hacking, coughing and sneezing!

Personally I don't care how demonstrative the audience is after the curtain falls, but I find audience noise during the performance very distracting to the experience.

The Met will not seat anyone after the lights dim for the performance so they do have a sense of respect for the audience and the performers. But how to control rude audience members who have no respect for others? I wish I knew... or someone else did.

#13 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,868 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 03:26 PM

Just last week we sat behind a couple who could not keep their hands off one another and kept exchanging passionate kisses constantly.

Some one should have told them that's what box seats are for. :wink:

I remember attending an opera performance in eastern Europe. It was Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina, so the theater was practically deserted. By the second act, those of us who were seated in the central balcony of the first tier moved to the first few rows. Midway through the act a couple who hadn't been there before came in and sat down in the last row. In no time all sorts of unseemly noises were coming from back there, but I didn't dare turn around to look. I don't know whether it was an illicit tryst, or whether they were just an ordinary middle-aged couple that had sneaked into the theater get some privacy, as in that part of the world it's not at all unusual for several generations to live together in a small apartment. In any event, they weren't able to use a box since that opera house had a practice of locking unoccupied boxes once the performance began. No doubt the theater had previous experience of boxes being used for amorous purposes. A number of years ago I remember watching a documentary series about Covent Garden in which an usher described just such an incident.

#14 zerbinetta

zerbinetta

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 680 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 03:32 PM

Last week I made a trip to Pittsburgh for a performance of Pagliacci in which a friend was singing Tonio. He gave a wonderful performance, stealing the show IMO.

At the curtain call, three post-retirees in front of me booed him. When the lights went up, I leaned forward and asked "Why would you boo the best singer in the cast?" The reply "Oh he was very good dear, but you always boo the villain".

#15 YouOverThere

YouOverThere

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 372 posts

Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:13 PM

I hate to be a curmudgeon, but... In Denver, it's just been in the last couple years that people have started bringing babies and pre-school children to the ballet and symphony. The results have usually been predictable. On Sunday at Dracula, a pre-schooler on the other side of the aisle talked the entire second act. I was going to say something to the parents during the intermission, but the usher was joking with them so I figured that I wouldn't get any support.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):