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Rules on how to behave in the theatre


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 08:37 PM

Thanks for that story, cubanmiamiboy. Sounds as if it wasn't the first time Tilson Thomas had been distracted by a phone or PDA in the front rows.


You're absolutely right, dirac. On my way out after the concert I overheard a conversation which referred to Tilson in a similar situation a year ago, which he resolved just walking off the stage. I don't know what did the musicians did when faced with this challenge...although I was very tempted to ask.

#17 Helene

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 08:40 PM

A few years ago at a concert at Meany Hall in Seattle, an audience member sitting at the front of the house had a coughing fit, and pianist András Schiff walked off the stage.

#18 richard53dog

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:51 AM

A few years ago at a concert at Meany Hall in Seattle, an audience member sitting at the front of the house had a coughing fit, and pianist András Schiff walked off the stage.



Well, it's still pretty annoying, although there are a few things you can do to minimize the distraction to those around you (cough drops, covering your mouth, leaving the auditorium for violent spells, or just simply staying home if you are sick) but coughing is often very hard to control. The distraction from the damn phones and PDA's is completely avoidable if the owner has an iota of consideration for fellow audience members.

Unfortunately sometimes coughing seems to be contagious though and sets off a chain reaction like one dog barking and then all the other neighborhood dogs start barking in response.

Going back to that age-old, rather than techno-hot, distraction of coughing in a theater and performers response, my favorite story is tenor Jon Vickers' reaction.
Vickers is a pretty prickly sort anyway but he had had enough of the audience provided obbligato to his singing during a performance of Tristan und Isolde in Dallas many years ago. During Tristan's long scenes of delirium in Act 3 Vickers snapped. He stopped singing and yelled out to the audience "Shut up your damn coughing". A resourceful amateur documenter (read bootlegger) captured the performance, with Vickers' outburst, on tape.

Jon, let us know how you REALLY feel......

#19 dirac

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:35 AM

Great story. :)

Well, it's still pretty annoying, although there are a few things you can do to minimize the distraction to those around you (cough drops, covering your mouth, leaving the auditorium for violent spells, or just simply staying home if you are sick) but coughing is often very hard to control.


Coughing is tricky, especially because a cough can linger for days or weeks even though you're no longer ill. But you should do everything you can to minimize it and not honk uninhibitedly.

#20 4mrdncr

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 02:58 PM

My story while filming at an outdoor stage...

First I had to contend with the weather: it rained 4hrs before the performance, we squeegied and mopped the stage to damp-dry; it rained again 2hrs before the performance, so we did it all over again. Then the temp dropped to just above freezing so I had to "bearhug" the camera all night so it would keep recording. Then a latecomer comes running up the aisle and effectively blocks my shot of the 2nd adagio movement of "Clear". (I curse to myself, but then think I'll be able to get the shot tomorrow, and there's always editing)...But NO!!!...

2nd night--Again, it rained and hailed that afternoon, but luckily it was only freezing cold/damp that night. Then, "the talker" began a long dialogue during that quiet 2nd movement, until he was superceded in arrogance by ALL SIX USHERS who decided at that moment to cross directly (ie. 1ft) in front of my camera in their clicking high-heels while talking!!! They obliterated my shot, and ruined the soundtrack. You can hear my strangled screams if you listen hard. So...I flew 7500 miles, spent $$$ to travel and film this historic moment, and the headless, heedless, clueless, idiotas ruined the shot. My only consolation is that they only half coincided with the previous night's blocked shot, and maybe precise editing will let me salvage the piece. But I will never forget or forgive them.

#21 bart

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:07 PM

4rmdnr, your experience shows -- in an extreme way -- just how much one person's behavior can impact on another person in a theater setting. I'm saddened by what happened and truly in awe that you did not grab a battery pack or similar object and bop someone on the head.

I hope your forebearence and sense of humor pay off for you, and that you'll find a wonderful way to use the footage you WERE able to obtain.

#22 sidwich

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:17 PM

Coughing is tricky, especially because a cough can linger for days or weeks even though you're no longer ill. But you should do everything you can to minimize it and not honk uninhibitedly.


Some common prescription drugs also have an unfortunate "dry cough" side effect. Although water and lozenges can help, it's not really possible to eliminate the side effect completely.

#23 carbro

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 05:54 PM

I was at a lecture a few weeks ago when the topic of audience behavior came up. The speaker noted that when the audience is really engaged, really really engaged, it doesn't fidget, cough or even clear its collective throat. She paused -- to a stony silence followed by a moment of gentle laughter.

So please, ladies and gents, do not drag unenthusiastic partners to the ballet/opera/concert/play because you want a companion. They diminish the experience for the rest of us.

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 06:17 PM

So please, ladies and gents, do not drag unenthusiastic partners to the ballet/opera/concert/play because you want a companion. They diminish the experience for the rest of us.

Yes, yes, [size=4]YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!![/size] :dunno: :) :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

#25 bart

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 07:10 PM

But that would cut the number of tickets sold. An awful lot of male ballet viewers in our area are dragged there by their wives. It's money for the company. Most of them don't even snore. :dunno:

#26 Amy Reusch

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 07:14 PM

every tripod should be equipped with a slingshot.

#27 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 07:15 PM

Ah..the omnipresent marketing detail. Sorry. Always forget about it-(blame it on my communist upbringing....) :dunno:

#28 sandik

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 07:32 PM

Some common prescription drugs also have an unfortunate "dry cough" side effect. Although water and lozenges can help, it's not really possible to eliminate the side effect completely.


I was taking something last summer with that effect and it was incredibly difficult to control I was in the middle of the prescription during the Ring cycle here -- I was able to minimize the problem, but not eliminate it. I am forever in debt to Ricola!

#29 bart

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 03:14 AM

I am forever in debt to Ricola!

For me, this season, it was the last of a series of Miami City Ballet performances in February. Thank you, CVS honey-lemon, sugar-free cough drops, which I used non stop through the program. Only a couple of little coughs. Silent paper wrappers. And NO calories. :wub:

#30 Mashinka

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:22 AM

I’m prone to sneezing in the theatre, probably because the places aren't dusted/vacuumed properly. I always take an anti-histamine tablet before going out.

When I buy CD’s I always avoid ‘live’ performances. I know the purists say that studio recordings are ‘dead’, but it’s preferable to listening to an added ‘coughing chorus’.


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