Don’t Be Awkward… It’s Awkward.

So my theater has has been performing Alice in Wonderland all this week, and I have noticed some… interesting behaviors in the audience. For instance, after a scene, a couple of people began clapping, but since nobody else was, they immediately stopped.

Awkward…

And then, some high-schoolers came in for a show, and were playing Flappybird on their phones the entire time! I kid you not!

So, for the benefit of society, I decided that I would write a blog to inform the world as to the proper etiquette when attending live theater.

  1. NEVER EVER EVER play on your phone during the show!!! No Facebook, no flappybird, no twitter or texting or anything! The cast and crew have worked extremely hard on the show, and when you decide that your phone is more important than the show you are attending, it is taken offensively. Texting also messes with the speakers and the microphone transmitters, so if you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to take this call, please take it to the lobby.
  2. Please dress nicely. I don’t necessarily mean suit and tie nice, just so long as you don’t come in your PJ’s and slippers. You aren’t at home watching Netflix with yourself and a tub of ice cream. I also wouldn’t recommend shorts and flip-flops, because most theaters crank up the AC to counteract the heat from the stage lights. 
  3. Don’t sing along, this isn’t High School musical. These actors have been training for most of their lives to sing beautifully, and have been rehearsing for this show for months. The people next to you didn’t pay to hear you, they paid to hear the people up onstage. There may be some exceptions, such as when the actors onstage prompt you to sing along, but otherwise just enjoy their performance in silence. 
  4. Don’t eat during the show. Most theaters won’t allow you to bring food or drinks, but some do. Keep in mind, the people next you didn’t pay to hear you unwrap your burrito or crunch on your salad. 
  5. When to clap:
    • After the end of a scene (when the curtain has closed and/or the lights have faded to black).
    • At the end of a song.
    • During bows (please clap for the ensemble characters as well, they worked just as hard as the lead actors).
    • When people kiss. (if you keep clapping, they’ll go for longer)
  6. When to laugh:
    • If a character says a funny line or does something funny.
    • PLEASE don’t keep laughing for a really long time, the actors probably have more lines to say, and can’t say them over laughter. 
  7. Don’t talk during the show! If your buddy doesn’t know the plot, then tell them to Sparknotes it later. Again, the people around you came to see the show, not to hear your detailed plot summary. This ALSO applies to Movie Theaters; a couple behind me gave away the entire plot of Lord of the Rings while we were watching it.
  8. Don’t fall asleep during the show. The people next to you won’t appreciate it, and the people onstage might get offended. If you can’t possibly stay awake, then go get a coffee, or watch a matinee show next time.
  9. Last but definitely not least, say thank you to the actors, director, technical crew, and/or ushers. They have all put in a lot of time and effort into this show, and never get enough appreciation for it. Even one little “thank you” can make the whole show worth it.

So I would like to give you a big thank you for reading! I really appreciate it when people read my posts! If you want to know more about theater etiquette, check out the Broadway Theater Etiquette webpage, or this handy-dandy little guide.

Catcha later alligator,

Splinter (MK)

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