Posted 01 July 2000 - 12:43 AM
Children should certainly be exposed to high art at a young age, but the parents should be firm in enforcing their children's adherance to the rules of "audience etiquette". I'm sure many a student (myself included) was inspired to begin ballet training after attending his/her first ballet performance. Mine was a "post-nap time" Nutcracker matinee at the age of five. I attended with my parents and great-grandmother (an avid ballet fan....I used to sit in her house and endlessly leaf through her programs). My one-year-old sister was left at home. Much to my mother's delight (and in accordance with her master-plan), I begged for classes after the performance. However, my parents hold PhDs in Emily Post and I can still hear my mother's voice instructing me to "behave like a proper young lady"....or else!!
Forgive the autobiography, but though I thought my parents to be terribly strict when I was younger, I now thank them for the knowledge and exposure to the arts they've given me. Not having children myself, I only have my childhood memories to refer to on this topic . It seems to be somewhat common for people to be rather intimidated when attending cultural performances in their adult years if they were not exposed as a child....this intimidation is oftentimes projected in the form of complaining, trying to be funny, or attempting to appear knowledgeable by commenting endlessly on the events on stage. It seems these people have tried to "broaden their horizons", but only halfheartedly without doing some research beforehand to familiarize themselves with what to expect. An example would be my DISASTROUS date to last year's HB performance of Sleeping Beauty! Comments from neighboring audience members are one thing, but when your date (who purchased the tickets to surprise you) complains about being there through the whole performance in an effort to be funny.....asking you to wake him at intermission...... Ooooohhhh...I shudder at the memory. I was so embarrassed! My "shushes" only encouraged him. Needless to say, the relationship was short-lived. It ended when he dropped me off at my house post-performance. I politely requested he not even bother walking me to the door.....
Posted 01 July 2000 - 09:31 AM
Posted 01 July 2000 - 10:06 AM
As a viewer, it annoys me. As a critic, it panics me because they just may be blocking the most crucial two or three minutes of the ballet.
On printing behavior tips in the program book, one local school-and-company, in its annual Nutcracker program, prints a page, in simple language and large type, of how to behave in the theater. Ten simple rules.
Posted 01 July 2000 - 10:18 AM
Posted 01 July 2000 - 12:33 PM
The most annoying things for me in St.Petersburg are clackers, fans of some particular dancer who applaud, shout doesn't matter how this dancer did his/her job tonight.
Posted 01 July 2000 - 05:07 PM
Andrei, three cheers for Russia!!! All sensible rules. A very politically incorrect story. I can either say this company was from a land that we American capitalists in our benighted way feel is a wee bit repressive, or I can say it was a Chinese company that visited DC during the reign of the Gang of Four. Whatever. The preperformance announcement is always given by the visiting company's people. And this was an announcement that would strike terror into the hearts of men. Not just the words, but the tone. It was not your "We ask that patrons please refrain from..." It was "GOOD EVENING. THE TAKING OF PHOTOGRAPHS DURING THIS PERFORMANCE IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN." There were other things that were forbidden, but I was too frightened to hear them. Actually, our audience is very well-trained in this way, from years of sharp-eyed and aggressive ushers who seemed to be on a quota ticketing system
One good story about a child, since children have figured so much in this thread. One night at a performance of the Chinese Acrobats of Taiwan (yes, I know it's not a ballet) there was a tiny boy, no more than four. A little Chinese, or Chinese-American, boy dressed in a sailor suit and carrying a teddy bear. I didn't notice him until I was leaving, although he was only two rows behind me, testament to his exemplary behavior. But now he was sobbing as only a very young child can -- forget Lady Capulet and Tybalt, this was Grief. The reason? Because he didn't want it to be over. I will never forget that. It must be the most wonderful compliment anyone ever paid an artist (and these acrobats were artists).
Posted 03 July 2000 - 02:22 PM
I'm surprised to learn that rules on late arrivals are so lenient in many places. At the Wortham Center, you are absolutely forbidden to enter the theatre after the lights go down...not even to watch from the balcony or the back of the theatre. Ticket holders are reminded repeatedly that late arrivals may watch the beginning of the performance on monitors located in the Green Room and claim their seats at intermission. Additionally, there is an announcement at the beginning of the performance that flash-photography is forbidden, "for the safety of the dancers and by law." Thankfully, I've never once seen a flash go off during a performance. How distracting! We also have the usual reminder to turn phones and pagers off or to silent mode (although some still manage to overlook this instruction). I could swear that there used to be a section on "audience etiquette" printed in the programs, but I couldn't seem to find it in my recent R&J program. It may be Houston Grand Opera who politely reminds its audience members that "lovebirds should refrain from leaning against each other as it obstructs the view of audience members in the rows behind."