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Alexandra

Should cell phones be banned?

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Who says California is always the Trendsetter!!! Rockville, Maryland is proposing a ban on cell phones at performances. (A shock -- he's not talking about a cell phone innocently going off during the White Swan pas de deux, but making talking on cell phones during a performance illegal.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor.../126/3745p.html

What do you think?

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The NY City Council was throwing this about...they actually passed it but the Mayor vetoed it. Why? It was a question of enforcement. Who is going to be the enforcer and make the "arrest" of the cretin who is using the cell phone? It would become one of those laws that no one follows...sort of like the no jaywalking rule in NYC. People jaywalk all the time...even in front of a police car and no ticket is given out! It is sort of like the people who are told 10 million times not to use flash photography at performances and those darn flashes go off all over the place. Who is going to give out the ticket or grab the guy...will you have citizen arrests?

I am a strong believer that a better solution is to find technology that would make the cell phone not able to work within the confines of the theater. Sort of like a blocking shield. There must be some inventor out there who could invent this! ;)

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The other important thing is a verbal reminder to turn off cell phones before a performance. Much to my complete chagrin, the one time this ever happened to me was when I forgot my cell phone was on. Most people aren't doing this to be rude, they've just forgotten about it. I think the announcements at the State Theater have been pretty effective.

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It would be nice if the ushers would enforce it.

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Rockville cited enforcement problems, too. They have not met Susan Lively, once the leading Enforcer at the Kennedy Center. She was an usher there. Young woman, a good six foot three. She could sense a flash bulb going off 40 rows away and pinpoint the villain. She would then rush down the aisle, stand near the culprit and beam a flashlight on them. The Kennedy Center Opera House quickly became a flashphoto free zone.

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Cell phone jamming systems have been tried

http://asia.cnn.com/2001/BUSINESS/asia/03/...a.cellphonejam/

but its illegal in the US to use a jamming device.

Mobile phone etiquette is the answer...but obviously only the conscientious actually make an effort in this area.

Hands up who doesn't own a cell phone? I don't..and I'm able to live my life effectively.:P

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I don't have a cell phone! I love it that there are times when no one can get in touch with me. :P

I think if anyone near me began talking on a cell phone during a performance I would not wait for either the ushers or the police.

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I don't have one either, to which my bewildered kids say, "Moooooom!"

Giannina

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Living without a cell phone today is as bad as being without internet access! You're in the stone age! ;) Seriously, I don't think they can be banned. People have them. Most people. They carry them with them because they always want or need to be accessible, for many reasons. However, having them turned on, in the theatre, is inexcusable :( I forgot once, but the announcement woke me up, fortunately. People tend to not listen to the same old, same old annoucements, so maybe some way for the the stage manager, or whoever does the announcing, to make that particlular message something different, or louder, or an afterthought that startles them, or something. Anything. If jamming is illegal, there is no other solution but that and vigilent ushers, as with flash photos.

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They could have a different dancer/performer in front of the curtain every night saying "please don't interupt my performance, turn your cell phone off, please"

of course, people still won't listen!

I saw a comedy performance and someone's cell rang, the comedien hopped off the stage asked for the phone and promptly told off the person who called :(

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Before each Prom at the Royal Albert Hall last summer, they played a very loud cacophony of ringing phones before the announcement to remember to turn them off. It was a big shock!

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Then there's the variant on the big sign the late writer Jack Douglas used to have on his front lawn:

WARNING! TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE! VIOLATORS WILL BE CRUCIFIED! UPSIDE DOWN!

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I, too, am SHOCKED and AMAZED at "some people" these days! My daughter and I both have cell phones and always remember to turn them off at a performance, of any kind, we went to the Greater PB Symphony this past Friday and to a Ballet Florida performance on Sunday. At both performances cell phones were ringing, at the ballet, (during a particularly 'quiet' moment of - Jerome Robbins' In the Night) someone actually answered their phone and carried on a conversation 2 rows behind us for about 3 minutes - this despite the "sshhhh's" from those nearby.

I do, though love Lolly's Royal Albert Hall story, though I'm sure it wouldn't have any effect on most of the American theatre goers!

:(

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Hey, I "always" turn mine off until the night I didn't. . .A reminder is polite and useful. At the concerts where I did a pre-performance announcement, I offered that "we were coming to the audience participation portion of the program" and I turned off my cellphone. "OK, now everybody. . ."

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I attended a peformance where a cell phone went off on the person sitting in front of me(of course during the most tense time of the play),she couldn't find it to turn it off,she stood up and tripped in the isle and caused more commotion.Oye! At one theatre recently a gent with a lively British accent came over the speaker before the show and said "If you're going to talk during this performance,open candy wrappers,cough and sneeze,don't even think of it,and if any cell phones go off you will be whipped with a noodle!" Very cute(and effective).

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Now you've confused me, Victoria! Am I, adamantly cell phone-less, in the Stone Age or the Information Age?

Dress Circle of the Metropolitan Opera House during ABT's 1998 or 1999 season. I was standing when the offending phone went off. The "gentleman" climbed over half the people seated in his row in order NOT to disturb them, and TOOK THE CALL standing beside me as he chatted away. Isn't it lovely that some people have such good manners?

I really like the idea of a catchy, humorous announcement. It would get people's attention, at least the first couple of times. I like the one Lolly described. Or something like those subtle, pre-curtain bathroom warnings on Broadway (do they still make them?) that the first act runs 85 minutes. "Ladies and Gentlemen: If you anticipate the need to phone your sitter, please do so in the next two minutes and then turn off your phones so we might enjoy this evening's entertainment."

New problem encountered at Ailey last month: the phones that silently receive messages on their illuminated screens that draw your eye. Suggestions, anyone?

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At a recent performance of South Pacific at the Arena Stage in Washington, the pre-performance announcement asked people to turn off "anything that beeps, flashes, or rings," and went on to enumerate all the possibilities. The announcement ended with the request that, "however much you love the songs, please refrain from singing along." This should be adapted for ballet purposes to, "please do not hum along."

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I'm sure the cute announcements will prevent some cell phone interruptions, and I feel for people in Leigh's position, who are genuinely thoughful but just slip up once in a long while. But still, I think we'll continue to see this problem until theaters start tossing out the offending parties. That just might even shame a few of them, and with a little more shame for boorish behavior, we wouldn't be having this problem.

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And how about those little pocket flashlights people turn on every five minutes so they can flip through their program during the performance? A few years ago (I don't know if it still happens, but it probably does) the New York State Theater looked as if it were filled with fireflies from all the lights and pages flipping!

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Originally posted by Xena

its illegal in the US to use a jamming device.

I swear my school uses one and probably along with all the other schools in my district and surrounding areas.

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I think the FCC would be very interested to hear about this. It's illegal to jam public frequencies (that is, all of them).

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The announcement ended with the request that, "however much you love the songs, please refrain from singing along." This should be adapted for ballet purposes to, "please do not hum along."

Excellent idea! I was at a recent Kirov performance of Swan Lake, and as the Little Swans music began, the woman directly behind me exclaimed, "Oh, I know this!", and proceeded to hum along loudly and off key through the remainder of it.

They may yet succeed in getting people to turn off their cell phones, but how do you turn off THAT?

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