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Subject: Audience Rudeness: A Solution
From: David Gregson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Nov 1995 01:43:22 -0500
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Stop the senseless talking, eating, candy wrapper crinkling, coughing,
program rustling, digital watch beeping, pager chirping, TV watching (yes,
portable TV watching during big ball games), and other types of audience
rudeness!

Most opera houses now have a "Supertitle" or "OperaText" capability that goes
to waste before the performance and during the intermissions. All off us who
have suffered through inexcusable candy paper rustling, talking, coughing and
the like should demand the management provide enlightening instructions on
courteous behavior via the supertitle projection system. After all, British
opera programmes routinely print such advice as "Please try to suppress your
cough.  If you have a modern digital watch, please disarm its irritating
alarm mechanism. Please do not unwrap sweets whilst the performance is in
progress" (or something very like that).

I suppose it would be too witty to shut people up with opera quotations like
"Zitti, zitti piano, piano!" or "Silenzio!" or "Schweigt stille, plaudert
nicht!" (Oops! That's Bach's "Coffee Cantata"). Anyway, that's my idea for
curing what is getting to be an impossible situation. Lecture the boors in
the supertitles until they behave!

Actually, I'm serious abouit this.  I know theater managements will resist my
suggestion because they will feel such messages are insulting to the
audience.  But the situation is WAY out of hand. As far as I'm concerned, a
supertitle reading "SHUT THE HELL UP DURING THE PERFORMANCE" wouldn't be out
of line.

By the way: the WORST coughing I have ever heard in my life in a theater was
two years ago at the Barbican in London during a Royal Shakespeare Company
performance of  "Macbeth." That shows you it's not just us hicks in the
provinces who don't know how to behave.

David Gregson
San Diego Magazine
[log in to unmask]
http://www.sandigo-online.com

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