Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Audience Behavior

When one performs in a variety of places for a variety of ages, one notices the little things that get neglected, such as remembering to have manners during a show. This is called Good Audience Behavior. Good Audience Behavior boils down to one thing: Do not become a distraction to the performers or the people around you. Sadly, more and more productions must give a Good Audience Behavior speech before the curtain rises. Lest "Do not become a distraction..." is not quite understood, here are further guidelines:
1) Turn off your cell phone. Or leave it in the car. Do not look at it when it vibrates to see who it is. Do NOT excuse yourself "quietly" to the foyer or other area just to answer the phone. If you are waiting for a very important call, don't attend the performance. People used to survive for several hours at a time without being near a phone (or checking Facebook). We can do it again. And if you forget to turn off the cell and it rings, turn it off--just push the volume button to make it go quiet and once the call gets sent to voice mail, you can turn off your phone; do not answer it.
2) Sit quietly. Talking to the person next to you, even if you're whispering, is a distraction.
3) If you are not interested in the show--maybe you were roped into coming or maybe it's boring--tough it out. Do not start talking or playing with your cell phone or Nintendo DS. Other people want to be there--don't be distracting.
4) If you must exit or walk by (perhaps it's an outdoor performance), do NOT walk between the audience and the performers. Cling to the edges of the group and go behind the audience, even if it means walking a bit further, even if it means getting off the sidewalk.

If you take your child to a play, you need to be in charge:
1) Sit next to your child. If you have a group of children with you, sit where you can easily reach any of them and have the most rambunctious child sit right next to you. Shushing a child over the tops of three or four children is distracting to everyone around you.
2) Keep your child seated. They should not be running around just because the show is in a gym or in the library. Especially, do not let them play on the stage or the stage area before, during or after a performance. If you know your child may have a problem sitting still, sit in the back, near an exit.
3) Kids get excited during a play but allowing them to get "into it" by yelling things out is a distraction. If the play is an audience-participation play, listen to the instructions. There may be times to yell things out and times NOT to.

If you're in charge of a large group of kids:
1) Don't leave the area just because the kids seem focused on the play. This is not the time for a meeting in the next room.
2) Staff members should be spread throughout the audience, not in one spot.
3) Don't talk to other staff members even in the back of the room; you can be heard. It's distracting.
4) Your most active children should be next to an adult and probably not in the front row.
5) The children will get excited. If they do not see you watching them, their noise/wiggly level will increase. If you don't stop them quickly, the level will get to be monstrous. The performers should not have to stop performing just to shush the children.
6) So sorry, but don't watch the show, watch the kids.

1) Laugh out loud when the play is funny. Enjoy it. It gives the performers more energy.
2) Applaud at the conclusion of the show. I don't care what the age of the performers--two, teen, senior, and everything in between--applaud. It is DIFFICULT work getting in front of a group of strangers and performing! With shows such as America's Got Talent, we've become a bit too critical, thinking everyone has to be Broadway, Hollywood or Vegas material to be appreciated. Not so. Applaud because of the efforts of the performers. Applaud because you saw a live performance. Applaud because you love the playwright. Applaud because the performance was pretty dang good for being a high school (or whatever) production. If you absolutely hated the performance and you didn't leave at intermission, that would be your fault--applaud politely.

Lots of information here but again it boils down to one thing...wait a minute, two things:
1) Don't become a distraction.
2) Enjoy it!

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