Mashinka

Rules on how to behave in the theatre

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Mystery of mysteries: During its metamorphis from the New York State Theater to the DHK Theater, the number of units in both the Men's (as I'm told) and Ladies' Rooms on the Fourth Ring was reduced. Not only toilets and urinals, but now no one has a nice little shelf for us to place our programs, binoculars and such, or a hook for our handbags. This adds time to the visit, as we try to figure out how to keep our items off the floor while unzipping and peeling down. How many million$ and they couldn't find money for hooks and shelves?

I can't remember when it ended. Or why. Does anyone know?
When? Koch years, if I remember correctly. Why? The New York City Council, in a flash of wisdom, passed a law requiring a parity of ladies'/men's rooms. Because it does take females longer to rearrange their clothing, and because most audiences have more women than men, there is some ratio that requires new theaters to accommodate the needs of each sex. They also banned the quarter-in-the-slot rip-off that we either bypassed by holding the door for the next pee-er or panicked in the face of as we searched for change.

I admit to liberating men's rooms more than once, but never when men were within and never as an expression of civil disobedience, although I fully support the latter.

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The Hollywood Bowl used to have the same issue. It's still not great, but it's much better than it was when I was in high school and many of my friends would usher there during their summers. One of my friends had the unfortunate job one night to be stationed at the men's room to "guard" against women overrunning the men's room. I won't go into detail about what those women would do to a poor young teen-age boy to use the men's room, but suffice it to say that he still remembers. :mad:

I am glad that newer venues try to take the disparity in restroom use into account during the design phase. I've been in some venues where the panicked rush to the restrooms during intermission isn't necessary and as trivial as it sounds to some, it makes a real difference in the theatre experience.

I never even knew about any of this, although the idea doesn't bother me beyond what sidwich was saying, meaning I guess the traffic has to be managed if the theaters are not properly arranged. Probably varied a great deal from place to place. But I never saw a woman in any men's room, at least not that I know of.

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Thanks for your answer to my question. I was beginning to think I had just imagined this. :)

Longer intermissions would, I suppose, be a partial solution to this problem. But then -- in our town at least -- the premature exit to valet parking would possibly just be greater. :mad:

Perhaps some audience behavior just has no solution, though I confess -- as I get older -- to thinking ocasionally that the Bayreuth model (as I imagine Winifred Wagner enforced it) has its points: "Achtung!: you will sit motionless, listen, watch, and be required to pass a quiz at the end."

One thing I like so much about the Met HD audiences down here: they (we) are remarkably attentive to just about every minute of the opera once it begins, no matter how much talking, noshing and wandering about have been going on only a few minutes before.

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But I never saw a woman in any men's room, at least not that I know of.

I just want everyone to know that I successfully resisted the urge to comment on this, I didn't know such agony existed, but I managed to restrain myself.

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Before its remodel, the Seattle Opera House (now called McCaw Hall) was notorious for the long lines for the women's rooms during intermission. As a critic I often get an aisle seat and so I could manage to get in line fairly quickly, but there were always women waiting in line for their turn (who had left the house promptly and not stopped off to chat or have a snack on their way to the restroom) when the bells rang for the next act.

There were four stalls for the entire top tier, on the theater left side, with the Men's on the theater right side. The upper lobby was long and narrow and filled with a bar that went along the long side opposite the tier entrances. It took about 10 people on each of four or five lines to block the entire lobby crosswise, and by the time a woman on theater right got from her seat, up the stairs, and across the lobby, and found the end of the line that snaked through people waiting to buy wine or chatting in groups, the intermission was 3/4 over.

You can imaging what the line was like after the two-hour first act of "Gotterdammerung". I was once about six people away when they started ringing the bells. I and the two dozen women behind me who refused to disperse with the bells were lucky they delayed intermission by about ten minutes, because they would have lost at least one subscriber/donor otherwise.

I was at the press conference where they were outlining the remodeling project, and every other PowerPoint slide was

"More Women's Bathrooms"

They also put up color xeroxes in the inside of each stall announcing the plans for the new hall with "96 Women's Bathrooms" prominently on them. It was a great segue to fund-raising. People were even asking if they could get naming rights to a stall, but enthusiasm ebbed when told that wouldn't guarantee them first dibs on it :mad: (although it really became unnecessary). My complaint is with the people who ignore the "Exit Only" signs because they are closer to the entrance, give you that "I know I'm being a jerk, but I'm going to anyway" smile, and insist on pushing through the line, only to find themselves at the wrong end of the corridor. (It is possible to be miffed at just about anything.)

My long-time expectation, having attended the Met, NYST, Carnegie Hall, etc., was that food and drink were fine outside the auditorium, but verboten inside. (How else would they make money on booze, not to mention employ all those bartenders?) I remember being very surprised the first time water was allowed in the auditorium of a theater. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when I went to an English National Opera performance at the London Coliseum, and not only was food allowed in the auditorium, but during intermissions, ENO sold its own brand of ice cream inside the auditoriums.

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You can imaging what the line was like after the two-hour first act of "Gotterdammerung". I was once about six people away when they started ringing the bells. I and the two dozen women behind me who refused to disperse with the bells were lucky they delayed intermission by about ten minutes, because they would have lost at least one subscriber/donor otherwise.

Helene,

They should operate a rota system for toilet use during Gotterdammerung and call it "The Ring Cycle."

(A lil bit o toilet humour for a friday evening.)

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But I never saw a woman in any men's room, at least not that I know of.

I just want everyone to know that I successfully resisted the urge to comment on this, I didn't know such agony existed, but I managed to restrain myself.

Thank you. I hadn't noticed it me-self till you pointed it out, you know.

May be a form of Brahmin Tourette's...

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But I never saw a woman in any men's room, at least not that I know of.

I just want everyone to know that I successfully resisted the urge to comment on this, I didn't know such agony existed, but I managed to restrain myself.

Thank you. I hadn't noticed it me-self till you pointed it out, you know.

May be a form of Brahmin Tourette's...

You don't know the half of it, my brain went into meltdown, so full did it become with innuendo, smutty toilet humour and scatalogical barbs. I pray to God this doesn't mean I'm growing up.

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Well since we're on the subject... These are my mother's experiences (probably a good thing I wasn't there):

1) At the Vatican, waiting in an endless line for the 'ladies' facilities, my mother gave up and went for the men's--which she managed to use, despite one very astonished Italian gentleman who exited a stall the same time she did. I've always wondered if she set a precedent or left an 'urban legend' for fellow tourists.

2) On a visit to the Sears (forgot its new name) Tower in Chicago, I'm not sure whether it was claustrophobia in the elevator or acrophobia at the view, or an incipient case of the flu, but when she got to the top floor and the elevator doors opened, there was an emergency stomach reaction so that the attendent/usher took one look at her face, grabbed her arm, and dragged her to to closest bathroom--the men's--exclaiming loudly to those within to prepare themselves because they were 'coming thru'. (Actually, mom didn't make it all the way and a potted plant suffered accordingly.)

For myself:

Not sure about the NYST/DHK, but at the MET it's all a matter of timing and what floor you can get to quickest.

Was watching The Red Shoes the other day and the opening scene in the theatre, as the balletomanes are incensed by the music students; each tries to shush the other, and cheer on their personal favorite dancer/composer-musician instead. And then the music students walk out in the middle of the overture/first act pushing past the balletomanes, because a student had realised the music was appropriated without credit to its true author--himself, instead of his professor.

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Mystery of mysteries: During its metamorphis from the New York State Theater to the DHK Theater, the number of units in both the Men's (as I'm told) and Ladies' Rooms on the Fourth Ring was reduced. Not only toilets and urinals, but now no one has a nice little shelf for us to place our programs, binoculars and such, or a hook for our handbags. This adds time to the visit, as we try to figure out how to keep our items off the floor while unzipping and peeling down. How many million$ and they couldn't find money for hooks and shelves?

I am convinced that architectural firms award restroom design to summer interns, or, if none are available, to the rankest novices on the staff, or if there are no novices, to the architect least inclined toward the practical. Not one of them seems capable of figuring out, in the interest of efficiency and good traffic flow:

1) how to design stalls so that the doors will stay in alignment, close, and lock;

2) that we need big, strong hooks on the doors for our bags and coats and shelves for programs and the like;

3) that we need a place at the sink for the selfsame bags and programs (a tiny little excuse for a shelf or a perennially wet counter top really won't do);

4) where to put the paper towels and trash baskets (clue: far away from the sinks isn't helpful, especially if it means having to cut through the line of people waiting for the stalls -- and how hard would it be to put towels by each sink anyway?); and

5) that facilitating primping and grooming actually moves things along faster -- if they are under the delusion that a wet counter top or shelfless sink discourages lip-stick re-application, hair fluffing, tooth brushing, contact-lens care, etc., not to mention digging around in our bags for whatever, they need to guess again.

And re those DHK theater bathrooms -- who picked out the material that the stall dividers are made of? That stuff will never, ever look clean.

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I am glad that newer venues try to take the disparity in restroom use into account during the design phase. I've been in some venues where the panicked rush to the restrooms during intermission isn't necessary and as trivial as it sounds to some, it makes a real difference in the theatre experience.

Honestly, I don't think you could find a woman who would consider this a trivial issue. My sister and I always think that theaters miss an opportunity when they do restroom expansions and don't ask for "naming" donations -- we would be thrilled to donate towards that, and get the chance to name it after our mother, who had trouble moving quickly and so wound up toward the end of the line more often than not.

Just a discrete plaque, for the "Mary Delores Tharalson Kurtz Memorial Stall."

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Longer intermissions would, I suppose, be a partial solution to this problem. But then -- in our town at least -- the premature exit to valet parking would possibly just be greater.

Sometimes people have to catch trains or buses. If I'm on the aisle I don't always linger for all the curtain calls. A few minutes can make the difference between catching the train and waiting twenty minutes plus, and if you're coming into town from a distance that can be a big deal. If I'm in the middle of a row I wouldn't think of shoving past people to get out, but there are good reasons for having to make a quick getaway.

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My sister and I always think that theaters miss an opportunity when they do restroom expansions and don't ask for "naming" donations -- we would be thrilled to donate towards that, and get the chance to name it after our mother, who had trouble moving quickly and so wound up toward the end of the line more often than not.

Just a discrete plaque, for the "Mary Delores Tharalson Kurtz Memorial Stall."

The only time people would think of you after you're gone is when they're voiding their bowels and bladder.

A legacy for poster-ior-ity.

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I've come up with a novel idea for the problem of supply and demand to combat the mad dash for the toilets in intermission.

A special circle of seats in theatre comprised of commodes. Plush, velvet covered, fitting perfectly with the surrounding seats, yet which can spring into action once the cover is lifted.

It'll be called the Stools Circle.

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I've come up with a novel idea for the problem of supply and demand to combat the mad dash for the toilets in intermission.

A special circle of seats in theatre comprised of commodes. Plush, velvet covered, fitting perfectly with the surrounding seats, yet which can spring into action once the cover is lifted.

It'll be called the Stools Circle.

Monsieur Simon,

yes he said yes he said yes....It's just so Busby Berkeley, but don't forget the surroundable invididualized curtains which may be drawn shut by each patron....although I don't know if this is rarefied enough for the younger people. And you haven't solved the problem of mad dash within the circle itself.

And there should be special ushers assigned as escorts for the task of needs which arise prior to intermission.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

pp

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People can be really DENSE. Keep it simple. How difficult is it to understand "turn off your cell phone"? And we all have experience with how ineffective that directive is.

The contemporary need to remain eternally connected and in touch plays a role, I think. I sometimes wonder if there isn't a certain ego boost involved in the constant checking for messages. It's also not very courteous to one's companion, I would think, although many people don't seem to mind.

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I sometimes wonder if there isn't a certain ego boost involved in the constant checking for messages.
Makes sense to me. Just look closely at a crowd of young people leaving a lecture or other event. Almost all immediately check their phones. Imagine being a kid you doesn't really expect any messages. Imagine the social pressure. I wonder if some people just check because they would look like losers if they did not.

(I once tried an experiment, walking down a city street pretending to have a really interesting phone conversation. Then I pantomimed texting, though my phone does not have this capability. Both -- after an initial feeling of foolishness -- actually made me feel rather good. :huh: )

Recently, looking out a restaurant window and observing pedestrians strolling under the palms on a lovely day, I noticed how many people who appeared to be under 30 (or who were dressing that way) were clutching their little phones in one of their hands. I was really quite touched. It reminded me of children carrying favorite cuddly toys. Rather sweet, actually. I keep mislaying my cell phone but I've never met a young person who admitted to doing so.

The emotional/physical attachment to one's phone may indeed carry over to a discomfort about turning it off ("rendering it unconscious" in a real sense). Conversely, keeping it on means giving it something -- lots of messaging and calls -- which keeps it busy and possibly builds its self-esteem.

There's plenty for social psychologists to research and think about.

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The emotional/physical attachment to one's phone may indeed carry over to a discomfort about turning it off ("rendering it unconscious" in a real sense). Conversely, keeping it on means giving it something -- lots of messaging and calls -- which keeps it busy and possibly builds its self-esteem.

There's plenty for social psychologists to research and think about.

Yes indeed, bart..

They should also investigate the other side of the story...you know...the constant struggle for some of that means resisting the urgent temptation to just flush it down the toilett... :huh:

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You are on to something, Christian. LOVE/HATE: one of the most intriguing mysteries of human nature. :huh:

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I was really quite touched. It reminded me of children carrying favorite cuddly toys. Rather sweet, actually.
:huh:

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I sometimes wonder if there isn't a certain ego boost involved in the constant checking for messages.
Makes sense to me. Just look closely at a crowd of young people leaving a lecture or other event. Almost all immediately check their phones. Imagine being a kid you doesn't really expect any messages. Imagine the social pressure. I wonder if some people just check because they would look like losers if they did not.

(I once tried an experiment, walking down a city street pretending to have a really interesting phone conversation. Then I pantomimed texting, though my phone does not have this capability. Both -- after an initial feeling of foolishness -- actually made me feel rather good. :huh: )

Recently, looking out a restaurant window and observing pedestrians strolling under the palms on a lovely day, I noticed how many people who appeared to be under 30 (or who were dressing that way) were clutching their little phones in one of their hands. I was really quite touched. It reminded me of children carrying favorite cuddly toys. Rather sweet, actually. I keep mislaying my cell phone but I've never met a young person who admitted to doing so.

The emotional/physical attachment to one's phone may indeed carry over to a discomfort about turning it off ("rendering it unconscious" in a real sense). Conversely, keeping it on means giving it something -- lots of messaging and calls -- which keeps it busy and possibly builds its self-esteem.

There's plenty for social psychologists to research and think about.

Good stuff, bart. It's the same with all electronic media, though, including all emails, bleugs (my new word for 'blogs', which I find sounds ugly), and even discussion boards (of course this last is far more sophisticated; I mean WE are all on this one).

Just a detail by way of comment on your remarks here and there: for the record, I know of several young people who have admitted to forgetting their cellphones, not that that means anything. I've never had one myself, and cannot even use one without instructions. It's probably like TV addiction used to be (and still is in some quarters.) Your mimed cellphoning and texting would not seem strange to many young cellphone addicts; as far back as 2005, a study was conducted in which an appalling percentage of outdoor street cellphone conversations were faked so as to 'have status'. So you're right about all the sense of status that comes with these messages, in their anticipation, fulfillment, etc. That was about the time that cellphones started being nearly invisible, I saw one yesterday quite a few moments after I heard the speaker talking, thought he was talking to himself at first (of course, he might have been as per the study.)

The most interesting thing is the valuing of this kind of communication and this very matter of status from electronic messages of any kind. I never value any of them as much as I do real-world communications, unless the writing is of a high order and I think there is some possibility that we might meet (this has happened in one case already, and precisely because the writing was of such excellence. In this case, the real-life presentation was not at all disappointing, though, whereas I have met other people whose bleug-writing I admired, but once I met them, I thought, 'oh well, this will be it'. Only in that one case cited will we meet for a 4th time soon. I mention this only because it's very discombobulating to meet someone in person that you may have idealized from talking on bleugs, and then you look at them and think 'oh dear'. Sometimes even a photo will do it, that's more efficient.) Main thing I'm trying to say is that my generation is still usually going to think you get the 'status points' in the physical world (in whatever form), not in the online world, where 'heroes' can seem like 'Galahads of trivia', unless they are just discussing seriously as they would in any other way, as in a classroom but less formally, or having a little horseplay with words. Little difference in preferring live ballet performance to DVD's, etc., which doesn't mean to disparage the latter, since live perf. is not nearly always accessible or affordable.

But you're bringing this up about the 'status' makes me understand more of what I started becoming more aware in about 2006, when I knew a 19-year-old who was always on MySpace when he wasn't going to clubs or on his phone. As a result of doing nothing but 'living it up in new York', he flunked out of a business school here, which was especially unimpressive given that he told everybody that he was enrolled at NYU, and his MySpace 'nickname' was 'Socialite Elitist'.

Well, you are more generous than I am, I don't find these 'cuddly toys' very endearing or sweet, I just tolerate it as a reality. And it's not nearly all young people: I never get really overtly annoyed by the phones except in waiting areas like airports, where you'll find 1/3-1/2 the people on them. I suppose texting is silent, though, and maybe Twitter can be used in the auditorium during acts as well as between them :P

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I was at the press conference where they were outlining the remodeling project, and every other PowerPoint slide was

"More Women's Bathrooms"

I felt like cheering.

They were flushed with success.

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I was at the press conference where they were outlining the remodeling project, and every other PowerPoint slide was

"More Women's Bathrooms"

I felt like cheering.

They were flushed with success.

My father loved a good pun. He has been dead for several years, but on his behalf, I thank you!

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Main thing I'm trying to say is that my generation is still usually going to think you get the 'status points' in the physical world (in whatever form), not in the online world
Me too, Patrick.

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Sometimes people have to catch trains or buses. If I'm on the aisle I don't always linger for all the curtain calls. A few minutes can make the difference between catching the train and waiting twenty minutes plus, and if you're coming into town from a distance that can be a big deal. If I'm in the middle of a row I wouldn't think of shoving past people to get out, but there are good reasons for having to make a quick getaway.

Yes! If I miss the 6:30 bus and 4hr ride home, I'm stranded in the City until the next morning's 4:30am bus--which doesn't always run. And after spending the $ for bus tickets and ballet tickets, I usually don't have extra for a hotel room, so it's either an all-nite cafe, or dozing in the PA. So yes there are times I have left before curtain calls were completed, and sometimes missed the end of a final act (VERY sorry to have to do that of course!)

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