Annoying, Gross, Rude and Inconsiderate Things People Do at the Theatre but You Never Should
Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton. The whole world is abuzz with the excitement of the most exciting musical to hit Broadway in years. But along with that thrilling new musical (yes, it really is THAT GOOD), there’s been some disturbing news from the theatre world: more and more people going to live theatre simply DO NOT know how to behave. This summer, an audience member jumped onto the stage of Hand to God to plug in his cellphone. Seriously. Evidently, he had “to be available to the ladies.” Yes, that’s a quote. In another incident, an audience member texted so continuously from the front row at Shows for Days, that star Patti Lupone — in character, of course — grabbed the woman’s cell phone right out of her hand.
What is going on, people?
Someone needs to tell you all how not to behave at a Broadway Show. Glad to oblige.
1. Shut your damn phone off. Generations of theatre goers have surived without people being able to reach them for a few hours. You will too. Honestly — you’re not that important. Get over yourself.
2. Tone Down your ‘do. If you’re tall, it’s one thing. No one likes to see Lebron James scooting his way into the row directly in front of them, but it’s not like there’s a whole lot he can do about being circus-freak tall. But if it’s just your ginormous hairdo, here’s a tip: TONE IT DOWN.
3. Clean Yourself Up — If you have to fit in that Spin Class before you get the theatre, shower before you arrive. Please. It’s a common courtesy not to reek when you’re sitting in close proximity to so many people. Brush your teeth, while you’re at it. Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed. Ditto deodorant. But don’t floss in your seat. I’ve seen that. No joke.
4. This is not your living room. Keep your comments to yourselves. Theatre is LIVE, people. You may not comment on the goings on on stage to the person next to you the way you would were you watching, say, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. (who, by the way may not even be live themselves — just well drawn cartoons.)
5. Go Smoke Free If you must smoke, give yourself at least a few moments to air out before you take your seat. Nothing spoils the illusion of being in the African Jungle, or the royal court like the stench of old cigarette smoke.
Of course if it’s a Mamet play, smoke away.
6.No Snoring. I know what you’re thinking : how would I know I‘m snoring if I’m asleep? I don’t care. Snoring is disrespectful to the actors and the people around you. Tie a rubber band around your wrist, and if you feel yourself dozing off, give yourself a good hard snap.
7. If you are sick STAY HOME. This is common courtesy. But also, it’s distracting to everyone and spoils the experience if you’re coughing, sneezing, and sniffling throughout the show. If you MUST have a tuberculosis attack the second the lights go out, at least cover your mouth. Why does the coughing begin as the curtain goes up? Passive aggressive anyone?
8. This is not your bedroom either. No canoodling. Keep your head on top of your own shoulders, not snuggled up against your date’s. You’ll be blocking someone’s view. And making them sick from the cuteness of it all. Get a room.
Overall, keep in mind that the people on that stage, the people back stage, and the people sitting in the theatre with you are all there for a reason: to see a show, to have an experience, to be in the moment. It’s not YOUR experience. It’s shared. But share the experience, not your food, your germs. your conversations, and certainly not your cell phone.
You can do that, right?
And if you can’t, stay home. If you won’t stay home, fine, just don’t sit in front of me.