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. 

1 comment:

Jean Valjean said...

Who am I? I'm Jean Valjean. Should I sing along?