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Audience Behavior


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#31 Janneke

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:55 PM

The audiences in Belgium (where I am at the moment) are very well behaved.

Last week I went to see the Royal Ballet of Flanders and ended up sitting beside a family. I was a bit wary of the little boy, who seemed a bit edgy and not interested in the show about to start at all. I was expecting a lot of shifting in the seat and "Daddy, why is...? What is...? I'm BORED!" etc. But you know what? The kids kept totally still and silent for the whole thing. Really well behaved.

Civilisation is still alive and well in some places!

#32 puppytreats

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:31 AM

Ballet dancers often post photos from bows and curtain calls on their social media sites, so apparently they are happy to have these photographs, even though my friend was scolded by an audience member and usher and told that the dancers' union prohibits photos in the theatre.

#33 California

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:28 AM

Ballet dancers often post photos from bows and curtain calls on their social media sites, so apparently they are happy to have these photographs, even though my friend was scolded by an audience member and usher and told that the dancers' union prohibits photos in the theatre.

This seems to vary by theater. At the Met, ushers are very fussy about the "no photography" rule before the performance, even just for audience members who want to record their presence in the theater. But during the bows, flashes go off constantly and nobody seems to be trying to stop that.

At the State Theater, ushers are adamant before, during, and after about their "no photography" rule.

I tried to take a picture of the theater for "Book of Mormon" long before the performance began, as there was a decorated stage exterior visible, and an usher immediately stopped me.

#34 sandik

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:50 AM

Ballet dancers often post photos from bows and curtain calls on their social media sites, so apparently they are happy to have these photographs, even though my friend was scolded by an audience member and usher and told that the dancers' union prohibits photos in the theatre.


Most union contracts allow the dancer to control images of them -- companies have to get dancer approval on photos for the press, etc. It's tricky sometimes, in a theater that is also a tourist attraction, like the Met, but when you think about it, it's a workplace as well. If someone took a photo of you at work, and then posted it on their Facebook page, you might be fine with that, but you might not. And if you worked someplace where you had proprietary material on your desk, you'd be very concerned about casual photographs being circulated publicly.

#35 Ballet Foot

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:59 PM

You are so right about adhering to union contracts, Sandik. I remember when I worked for one of the networks in NYC, we were interviewing Alicia Alonso in conjunction with her performances at the Met with her company. We wanted to insert some rehearsal footage etc.. Fortunately, our union people knew their people & were able to come to some understanding without endless red tape & paperwork. I must confess that it didn't feel as if I were working that day or the next morning in the green room. I was on cloud nine. 



#36 lmspear

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:51 PM

I tried to take a picture of the theater for "Book of Mormon" long before the performance began, as there was a decorated stage exterior visible, and an usher immediately stopped me.


I've been told that there are copyright concerns with photograhs of scenic design elements, i.e. creating unauthorized reproductions of the set. The ushers have no way of knowing that the snapshots are going to be tucked lovingly into a personal album. If the pictures show up on a blog or website they can be used by anyone for any purpose.

#37 California

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:26 PM

I've been told that there are copyright concerns with photograhs of scenic design elements, i.e. creating unauthorized reproductions of the set. The ushers have no way of knowing that the snapshots are going to be tucked lovingly into a personal album. If the pictures show up on a blog or website they can be used by anyone for any purpose.

Oh, for sure, and I suspect that was the explanation. But why are the Met Opera ushers so fussy? Nothing is visible on the stage in the way of copyrighted designs until the curtain calls, which they do nothing to stop people from photographing and videotaping. I've noticed several episodes when visitors just wanted a photograph of themselves standing in the theater before the performance and ushers rushed to stop them.

#38 sandik

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 04:24 PM


But why are the Met Opera ushers so fussy? Nothing is visible on the stage in the way of copyrighted designs until the curtain calls, which they do nothing to stop people from photographing and videotaping. I've noticed several episodes when visitors just wanted a photograph of themselves standing in the theater before the performance and ushers rushed to stop them.

That does seem excessive -- like I said, it's tricky when a venue is both a theater and a tourist attraction -- think of all the photos people take outside the building with the Chagalls in the background...

#39 fadedhour

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

I hate having to deal with this problem, because it really takes away from the experience of watching the ballet - whether it's interrupting the ballet by asking them to stop, or suffering through it worrying if they'll stop.

 

A memorable experience for me was when I went to Hamburg aged 19 for my first ballet in Europe.  I was at the ballet Nijinsky and it starts with the curtain up and a few dancers walking onstage.  Then the lights go down, and the character of Romola enters, shortly followed by Nijinsky.  It's silent at this point - so breathtakingly silent you can hear the dancers breathe if you're close enough.  As the dancer playing Nijinsky walked dramatically down the stairs, I thought, 'Wow, you couldn't do this back home - someone's phone would go off!  I guess these European audiences are much more sophisticated."  Right on cue, a phone quite near me went off, and the ringtone was that horrific Crazy Frog thing.  Illusion shattered.

 

(I should say that I've been to several performances there since and had absolutely no problems with audience behavior of any kind.)

 

I may have annoyed another audience member myself at another performance on that trip at the end of the first act of the same ballet.  As the curtain began to fall I noticed a dancer I hadn't realized was there barely visible to the far left of the stage.  I moved my head to see him, just a little, then a little more...  When the lights went up, I noticed that, embarrassingly, my head was nearly in the lap of the person sitting next to me!



#40 California

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:28 PM

 

But why are the Met Opera ushers so fussy? Nothing is visible on the stage in the way of copyrighted designs until the curtain calls, which they do nothing to stop people from photographing and videotaping. I've noticed several episodes when visitors just wanted a photograph of themselves standing in the theater before the performance and ushers rushed to stop them.

That does seem excessive -- like I said, it's tricky when a venue is both a theater and a tourist attraction -- think of all the photos people take outside the building with the Chagalls in the background...

 

On my most recent visit, I did notice several tourists taking pictures in the theater before the performance without hindrance from ushers. I guess it depends on the ushers! The bigger problem in the closing weeks of the season seems to be crying babies. I was there when one screamed out at the beginning of Julie Kent's White Swan and someone else reported on screams during Reyes' Sylvia. There is a soundproof "baby room" at the back of the orchestra (they show it to you on the Lincoln Center tour) and I wonder how swiftly ushers try to move people into that at the first outburst.



#41 ABT Fan

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:34 PM

Why are babies being brought to the theatre in the first place?



#42 kfw

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:34 PM

There is a soundproof "baby room" at the back of the orchestra (they show it to you on the Lincoln Center tour) and I wonder how swiftly ushers try to move people into that at the first outburst.

 

 

They should move both mother and baby out the front door.



#43 California

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:47 PM

Why are babies being brought to the theatre in the first place?

I rummaged around (briefly) on the NYCB, Met, and ABT sites and couldn't find any rules on age minimums, although I'm sure they say somewhere that everybody must have their own ticket, regardless of age. We took my sister's 3-year-old grandson to last year's Nutcracker at the Colorado Ballet, but made a point of sitting on an aisle so we could make a quick get-away if he acted up. (He didn't.) Nobody should have to be told to do that!  And a matinee Nutcracker is swarming with little kids anyway (unlike Swan Lake).



#44 ABT Fan

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:58 PM

 

Why are babies being brought to the theatre in the first place?

I rummaged around (briefly) on the NYCB, Met, and ABT sites and couldn't find any rules on age minimums, although I'm sure they say somewhere that everybody must have their own ticket, regardless of age. We took my sister's 3-year-old grandson to last year's Nutcracker at the Colorado Ballet, but made a point of sitting on an aisle so we could make a quick get-away if he acted up. (He didn't.) Nobody should have to be told that!  And a matinee Nutcracker is swarming with little kids anyway (unlike Swan Lake).

 

Toddlers are one thing at a Nutcracker (and would be expected).  Babies have no business at any ballet because of their potential for disturbing the audience, the dancers and the musicians.  Not fair to anyone attending or performing and no one can expect a baby to behave for 2-3 hours.  



#45 kbarber

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:08 PM

 

I've been told that there are copyright concerns with photograhs of scenic design elements, i.e. creating unauthorized reproductions of the set. The ushers have no way of knowing that the snapshots are going to be tucked lovingly into a personal album. If the pictures show up on a blog or website they can be used by anyone for any purpose.

Oh, for sure, and I suspect that was the explanation. But why are the Met Opera ushers so fussy? Nothing is visible on the stage in the way of copyrighted designs until the curtain calls, which they do nothing to stop people from photographing and videotaping. I've noticed several episodes when visitors just wanted a photograph of themselves standing in the theater before the performance and ushers rushed to stop them.

 

 

I had the same experience at the Kennedy Center at an intermission when I was wanting to take a picture of my group with a dancer from Washington Ballet who had joined us. The usher rushed up and upbraided me quite harshly to stop taking pictures, and hadn't I heard the announcement? I tried to explain I assumed the announcement meant that I wasn't to take pictures during the performance, I didn't think it applied to taking a picture of my friends in row Y at the intermission, and she kept saying quite rudely "Didn't you hear the announcement?" as if I were some kind of idiot. This kind of treatment can also spoil one's evening at the ballet. Maybe we should start a thread on "usher behaviour". I had a run-in with a very rude one at the Met this May too.




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