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Audience behaviorany especially bad examples recently?


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#16 mmded

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:45 PM

What happened to the good old babysitter that I used to use whenever I wanted to attend an event? I won't even entertain going to a matinee of Nutcracker and indeed have gotten to the point of not really wanting to attend any performance at all of Nutcrackerl. We went to a local performance of a fairly "on the edge" modern dance offering where the dancer stripped down to NOTHING and there were several very young children in the audience with their parents. I did not even consider what I thought about the entire performance- I was too busy thinking about what those small children in their party dresses and ballet buns thought about the whole thing.

#17 carbro

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:58 PM

I hope those youngsters did not do what I have so often seen children do at intermissions or after the performance -- imitate what they'd just seen! :wink:

#18 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:52 PM

Let's see... there was the elderly deaf couple arguing about their marriage, apparently oblivious to the production on the stage... there was the guy in the front row who stood up and started taking flash photos, and then picked a fight with the usher who tried to get him to stop... and then there was that guy snoring so loudly through Jean Erdman's performance, whom someone informed me naught could be done about as he was her husband, Joseph Campbell. But recently? beyond the usual kid stuff at Nutcracker (which I tolerate because Nut always seems like a mission to bring ballet to young children)... only me, furious that I had bought a dance ticket at a theater where one couldn't see the dancers below the knee because of the sitelines.... I kept trying to sit high enough in my chair to see a little better (angering the people behind me).

#19 sandik

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 07:47 PM

and then there was that guy snoring so loudly through Jean Erdman's performance, whom someone informed me naught could be done about as he was her husband, Joseph Campbell.


Oh dear, it's not fair to make me laugh that loud!

#20 carbro

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 08:05 PM

Imagined conversation later:

Jean: . . . and someone was snoring through the whole thing -- and loudly!!! I could barely keep my focus!

Joe: Well, that was rude! Someone shoulda beaned that boor!

Someone shoulda!

#21 BalletNut

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:26 PM

I remember somebody humming along with the orchestra at a performance of Sleeping Beauty...or was it Nutz? I've tried to block it from my memory. :wink:

Then there are the ubiquitous seat-kickers and ladies marinating themselves in perfume.

#22 volcanohunter

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:42 PM

I remember somebody humming along with the orchestra at a performance of Sleeping Beauty...or was it Nutz? I've tried to block it from my memory. :wallbash:

You should make a point of never sitting too close to the orchestra pit while Valery Gergiev is conducting. He grunts along with the music all performance long.

#23 sandik

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 01:25 PM

I remember somebody humming along with the orchestra at a performance of Sleeping Beauty...or was it Nutz?


I've done this accidentally -- it's very embarrassing.

#24 dirac

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 05:18 PM


I remember somebody humming along with the orchestra at a performance of Sleeping Beauty...or was it Nutz?


I've done this accidentally -- it's very embarrassing.


Me, too.

#25 Natalia

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 01:06 PM

I just had a doozy of an "audience behavior" experience last night at Washington Ballet's premiere of the 'Morphoses/Carmina Burana' program at the Kennedy Center.

No, it wasn't the hummer, or the seat tapper, or the cellphone multitasker. This is a new one: The 'Artistically-Moved Sigher.' I had the 'honor' of sitting next to a well-groomed, middle-aged lady who spent the entire performance vocally reacting (sigh, ooh, ahhh, etc.) to almost every movement on the stage. If something really moved her, she accompanied her vocal noise with a wild gesticulation of arms/hands, often mimicking a conductor. She emitted some sort of sigh/noise every 10 seconds or so. About 15 minutes into the night's first ballet (Wheeldon's 'Morphoses'), I finally had to whisper something to this lady: "Could you please keep your reactions to yourself?" This made it only worse, as the lady snapped back to me: "When the artistry moves me, I have a right to react!" So I answered forcefully: "Wait until the time for applause." That sort-of shut her up...for this first ballet.

Thank goodness, after intermission, she & her friend switched seats...so I had the lady's friend sitting between us. HOWEVER, the next ballet was "Carmina Burana." You can only imagine how the Orff music moved her, in comparison with the relatively staid Ligeti score of the first work. In other words, she was every bit as loud, to my ears, during "Carmina" as she had been in "Morphoses." What a double-show!

Has anyone else experienced an "Artistically-Moved Sigher" as an audience-neighbor?

Was I too harsh with this "Artistically-Moved" individual? What else could I have done?

p.s. I wish that I could write about the performances on stage but this gal really ruined it for me. It was tough to concentrate on two performances at the same time. :blink:

#26 Helene

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:00 PM

Has anyone else experienced an "Artistically-Moved Sigher" as an audience-neighbor?

Yes. Definitely yes.


Was I too harsh with this "Artistically-Moved" individual?

No. Definitely no.

What else could I have done?

She put a friendly (to her) bodyguard between her and you, and you couldn't accidentally drop a 20 lb. purse on her foot, preferably with laptop. I don't think there's much you could have done.

#27 carbro

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:07 PM

Somebody nervier than I :blink: might try the Annie Get Your Gun approach: Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better. To her sigh, you SIGH. To her oooooh, you :) , etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Somehow, though, Natalia, I doubt that's your style. Plus, these things usually go over the offender's head, not to mention bother even more patrons.

#28 SandyMcKean

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 03:18 PM

To be honest, I can be a bit of a 'Artistically-Moved Sigher.' :)

However, I do it relatively infrequently, and when I do catch myself, I make a strong attempt to stop it. Clearly, this lady did none of those things.

Certainly you were within your rights to say something, altho saying "I feel I need to tell you that I find your sounds and movements very distracting. I can't enjoy the ballet as I'd like. What should we do?" might have been more effective. OTOH, if she was sitting next to me, I'd probably be so angry that I would not have been able to speak such enlighted sentences either. :blink:

#29 bart

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 03:26 PM

Natalia, your woman's soul-sister sits next to me at one of the matinee subscriptions to Miami City Ballet.

She is less of a sigher and more of a grunter. "Ehh." "Ooof." "Oh, no." She is also something of a dance critic. "Look at his feet. Look at those feet." To be fair, this trails off into silence after about 5 or so minutes. I've been hesitant to say anything because one of her favorite conversational responses during intermission (spoken to the unrelated person who sits to her right) seems to be "WHATEVER!!!"

These are lynching offences at Bayreuth. But increasingly they are inescapable parts of our modern culture, where so much of our entertainment comes through tv in the privacy of our living rooms. ("I talk to the trees/ but they don't listen to me" has become "I talk to the screen/ and I don't give a damn whether anyone is listening or not.")

Like Sandy, I sometimes have the urge to respond orally to ballet performances -- though it's usually what I imagine to be whispers of delight. A bigger problem is sometimes wanting to move my hands, arms, and legs along with the dancing, and an occasional tendency to bounce up and down. Ever so slightly.

That's why my favorite seat for most performances is an arm chair in a box with no one to my right, and someone who knows and tolerates me very well on my left. :)

P.S. Thanks, Sandy, for your suggestion of how to respond. I hope I remember it next season if she and I have the same seat assignments. :o :blink:

#30 dirac

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:24 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.



You're not being a curmudgeon. And as you note, it's hard to say anything without being publicly branded as a child-loathing monster.


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