Archive for January, 2012

Tweet Yourself to an Evening of Theater?

Last week in The New York Times Peter Funt reported that theaters are now creating tweet seats so the umbilically electronically attached may tweet on Twitter during performances. Really? This makes Cranky like crazy cranky. STOP. NO! Dear Mr. Funt titled his article “Theater for Twits.” A man after mine own heart.

Exactly what is the world coming to? I ask you. Why why why would they change the etiquette of the theater to accommodate what teenagers are doing walking up and down the sidewalk?

People need to learn the proper etiquette of theater going, and adapt themselves to that. Not the other way around.

I once witnessed a family of five try to bring five full Happy Meals complete with humongous beverages into the theater to see “Spiderman.” They didn’t know. The door guy told them they couldn’t bring them in. Next time they will know. It was their first time at the theater, and contrary to what happens in a movie theater, there are actually live people on the stage who need to be heard and can hear you. There is a first time for everyone. I know a guy who saw his first Broadway show at three years old-but he is city people and we all know they are not the norm. I saw my first Broadway show as a teenager when a friend brought me to see her father in a play. Of course Cranky was immediately entranced – hence a life of suffering in the theater.

Tweeting at the theater is wrong on so many levels. What’s next? A sleeping section complete with reclining seats for recalcitrant husbands who didn’t want to go to the theater in the first place? “This is more like it,” says the husband as he kicks back and pulls the lever on his Lazy boy theater seat and reclines away his evening of theater.

Or sections in restaurants for people who want to chew with their mouth open? “This is great!” says the customer as bits of food fly out of his mouth hitting the other open mouth eaters beside him.

I’m sad to say The Public Theater was one of the theaters with Tweet seats.

I wonder who was the first one to tell the actors about this? Were they in the dressing room about to go onstage? I just love when someone drops a bomb right before you go onstage. “SO AND SO IS IN THE AUDIENCE!” Great. Thanks. Now I will be completely self-conscious and not be able to think about anything else throughout the entire show.

I can just see it. “Oh, guys, ah, hey,” says the assistant director. (Poor AD’s always have to do these things.) “Um, ah, we have Tweet Seats in the theater now, so if you see something glowing in the audience, just ignore it.”

Does anyone besides actors realize the depths of an actor’s paranoia? You know that that night onstage every time an actor caught a hint of a glimmer in the audience they were thinking; “Are they tweeting about me? Are they making fun of me? Maybe if I was more interesting they would stop tweeting.”

Hello Public Theater! Actors spend years developing their craft and they have to put up with this crap? How about some “Respect for The Theater” as Uta Hagen says?

Is this a technological return to pre-Wagnerian theater? Are we technologically recreating audiences more interested in talking to each other than watching and listening to the show? Wagner was the one who insisted that the house lights be turned off so the audience had to focus on his music. He felt his music was important and the audience needed to listen to it instead of talking to each other and visiting each other’s box seats. You go Wagner dude. I’m with you.

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