Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cordial Correspondence

Dear patrons of the arts:

I realize the Hale Centre Theatre, the Murray Amphitheater, the Desert Star Theater, or any of the local high school auditoriums and community venues isn't the Metropolitan Opera. I get that. And it's for that reason that I'd like to share a few tips for those of you who may not be accustomed to attending artistic presentations, or for those who may think that because you're not at the Met you don't have to be courteous.

The most important thing to know is this: The more you give us as an audience, the more we give you as performers. Fact.

Don't text during the show. Better yet, turn your phone off. In fact, leave your phone in the car. We notice when someone is paying more attention to their phone than to us. ESPECIALLY when the lights are out. Then you become the subject of ridicule for the tech crew for the remainder of the show. We talk about you when we're off stage and say things like, "Can you believe?!...", or "What the?!", If something is important enough to be texting about during a show, you probably shouldn't be at the show in the first place.

Arrive on time. Not only is it rude to come late in general, but it's very inconsiderate of you to make everyone else stand up while a performance is going so you can find your seat. Not to mention how distracting it can be for the performers. Plan ahead. It's not that hard.

Don't fall asleep. If you're that tired, stay home.

Don't be grumpy. No one likes a frowny face. Even in a dramatic play, there's a difference between being involved in the story, and just being grumpy. If it's not a dramatic show, the least you can do is fake a smile.

If you have to text, or sleep, or mope, at least have the decency not to sit on the front row. That way we don't have to see you. We've put a lot of work into what we do and we want happy, engaged people there who might actually be excited about what we're doing. If that's not you, perhaps find something different to do with your time.


Performers of the arts.