Friday, June 14, 2013

Attending Live Theatre: A How-To Guide

So, you're going to the theatre? Congratulations! What an exciting and unique opportunity. Whether this is your first visit to the theatre, or your fortieth, it will benefit you to review the following "How-to Guide" for attending live theatre performances. This guide has been created from extensive personal experience and is designed to provide you--and the other theatre goers attending the performance--with the best possible experience. Review it often, as I will continue to update it.

Before the Performance
Travel to and Arrival at the Theatre - Before the day of the performance, you should take the time to research and prepare for your theatre experience. It has been said that knowledge is power. In this case, knowledge is arriving on-time and not bothering the other patrons who have to stand up to let you into your seats. Use the following suggestions as you prepare for your visit to the theatre:
  • Get on Google Maps. Look up the theatre you'll be attending. Become familiar with the surrounding area.
  • Get directions to the theatre. Often times, instructions for travel to the theatre are posted on the theatre's website.
  • Using Google Maps and/or the theatre website, decide how long it will take for you to travel to the theatre.
  • Using that estimated travel time, plan a departure time that will get you to the theatre twenty minutes early. Planning to be twenty minutes early will give you a suitable buffer should you get caught in traffic. It will also give you a chance to use the restroom prior to the performance.
  • Before you leave for the theatre, confirm that you have your tickets for the performance on your person. You do not want to arrive at the theatre without your tickets.
These steps are very important. You, and the other patrons, have spent your hard earned money on this experience. I am sure that you did not spend your money so you could miss the first ten minutes of the performance. I am also sure that the other patrons didn't pay to have you step on their feet as you stumble across the aisle in the dark. You should be courteous to yourself and those around you.

During the Performance
Singing - Don't do it. Just don't. Ever. Nobody cares that you know every word to The Phantom of the Opera or every Idina Menzel vocal lick you heard while listening to the cast recording of Wicked. Nobody really cares that it is your favorite show--you should not sing along to the performance. It is also worth mentioning, it does not matter that you played the part in High School, you still can't sing along. If this becomes a temptation, please use the following check-list to effectively handle that urge to belt along with the cast:
  • Location: Look around you. Are you riding in a car with three of your closest musical theatre buddies blasting Legally Blonde? No you are not. Please refrain from singing along.
  • Location: Look around you. Are you at a special sing-along showing one your favorite musical films? No you are not. Please refrain from singing along.
  • Location: Look around you. Is there a shampoo-beard on your face? Is the shower pouring hot water down on your naked body? No it is not. You are not Jean Valjean and you should refrain from singing along.
Please use this checklist as often as you mus to ward off the impulse to sing-along.

Talking - Akin to singing, talking should not be a part of your experience at the theatre. Believe me, nobody came to the theatre to listen to the conversation you are having with your neighbor and I'm fairly certain that you did not come to the theatre to chit and chat and discuss and what have you. If you would be so kind, please keep those lips zipped. Occasionally, in rare circumstances, something will come into your mind that you must say to your neighbor in that moment. In these cases, I would please ask you to refer to the instructions listed below regarding whispering:
  • Whispering: A Step-by-Step Guide
    1. Think of what you want to say to your neighbor. Then run it through the following checks:
      • Is what I want to say absolutely necessary to and dependent on this moment?
      • Is what I want to say fifteen words or less?
      • Will the delivery of my message disrupt or distract fellow theatre patrons?
      • Is what I want to say absolutely necessary to and dependent on this moment?
    2. If your message has passed the checks listed above continue to the next step. If it has not passed all the steps, then forget about it and return to enjoying the performance.
    3. Lean over to your neighbor and place your mouth as close as possible to your neighbor's ears. If this makes you uncomfortable, then learn sign language.
    4. Carefully exhale air from your lungs in order to sufficiently adduct your vocal cords to create an audible turbulence through which you can speak at a quiet volume that only your neighbor will hear.
    5. After delivering your message, return your body (and your mouth) to it's normal position. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Friday Night Lights

Recently, I just finished a rather intense marathon of NBC's critically acclaimed program Friday Night Lights. It changed my life.

I know that this might sound like some kind of sponsorship or advertisement, but believe me when I say, I've been moved to write about this program simply because this show is fantastic and I want to do my part in spreading the good news of FNL.

I admit, I did not ever want to watch this show. There were so many people touting it's superiority which is tough considering I have a bad case of I-don't-want-to-like-things-that-everyone-else-likes-especially-if-they-are-shoving-it-in-my-face-every-time-I-see-them-itis. I was initially turned off to this show by the mere fact that everyone I knew loved it. On top of that, Friday Night Lights is about football. It's not that I hate football, I just don't love it. I couldn't imagine myself becoming immersed in a five season show that was based about football. I could not have been more wrong.

I went home for the Christmas Break and I started watching Friday Night Lights. Less than a month later, I had watched all three thousand, two hundred and sixty-eight minutes of it. Coming out the other side of this FNL tunnel, I could not be a bigger fan of this show. I have experienced first hand what this show can do for you ( or to you?), and I'd like to share three of those with you now.


This is very strange side-effect of watching the show. After one season of this show, you might start to hear the strange drawl of a Texas accent sneaking in. Certain words creep into your conversation--words like "ya'll" and "texas forever."By the end of the show, you might even consider moving to AND living in Texas (of course that might be out of some misguided hope to meet your favorite characters from the show--it's important to remember that the show is not real life . . . I know, it gets really hard).


Say what?! Yes. It's true. You'll wish you have paid more attention in High School. You'll wish you had gone and supported the team. It'll make you a little more fluent in "sports," making you less awkward at those Super Bowl parties you keep getting invited to by that guy at work. Pretty soon, that strange sound (something like static mixed with a lot of shouting) that blasts from your uncle's TV when you go too visit starts to sound like intelligible English. I know this sounds farfetched, but after watching Friday Night Lights, I'm getting excited for next season of High School Football. What is strange is that my TiVo says I can't get a season pass to "High School Football," as there are "no programs found" with that title. Do I need a different cable package or do I actually need to go somewhere to watch "High School Football?" Anyone? Help me out here.


You will become a better person. There is no doubt of that. The more that I watched this show, the more that I realized this show is not about football. It's about so many things. It's about love. It's about heart. It's about marriage. It's about self-reflection. It's about friendship. It's about perseverance. It's about challenges. It's about life. Through this show I have learned so much about myself, what I want, and where I am going. I know what kind of person I want to be and how I can become that person. Friday Night Lights has taken it's place amongst my life-changing experiences--right next to Lost, and right below my religion. It sounds corny, but it's true. Friday Night Lights changed my life.

Friday Night Lights is available for instant viewing on Netflix, so start watching. Be warned. It will suck you in. And you will be the better for it.