Cokebaby and I went to see Doubt: A Parable at the Neptune Theatre this weekend. It was a fantastic show, well-acted, and with a really cool stage design. The play was wonderful and I’m looking forward to checking out the film when it comes out on DVD.

Now, I don’t consider myself a hoighty-toighty kind of person even if I have, in fact, been to the opera. TWICE. Three times if you include the 10 minutes Measha Brueggergosman performed at the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo one year. But that’s besides the point.

I was floored by the astounding number of people who had no clue about theatre etiquette. To be honest, I think many of these people thought they were going to see Doubt in the movie theatre rather than, you know, the theatre theatre.

For those people who are wondering, here are some clues to help figure out the difference:

  • were you handed 3D glasses at the door?
  • are the floors sticky?
  • were there movie ads playing while you wait for the lights to dim?

If you answered no to any of the above, then you’re actually in a theatre with live actors. Yes, this would explain how “real” the experience is in the absence of those 3D glasses.

So, now that we’ve established that you’re in a theatre for plays, here are some tips on etiquette:

Just because someone in the house coughs does not give you license to do the same. That goes for the next person, and the person after that, and so forth. In fact, try to stifle your cough. And if you’ve got a dry heaving cough that you haven’t been able to get rid of for days, you’re better off seeing a doctor about it than attending the play at all.

If someone does happen to cough this should not also be considered the prime opportunity to open your box of candies, bottle of pop, or packets of gum.

For that matter, you should keep your food products and resultant belching in until you’re back at home or in another suitable environment.

And bathroom breaks? In most cities you’re not permitted to leave until intermission unless you’ve got some kind of personal emergency. Once those lights dim, consider yourself in prison lock-down. Come on, it’s only an hour and a half people. Plan your bowel movements like the rest of us and use the facilities beforehand.

And for goodness sake, don’t snap your gum throughout the performance (or ever, really but in this scenario in particular) or try to take notes (!) on loose leaf paper.

No word of a lie, all of these things happened to the point of distraction. And if I was hearing it, how do you think the actors were feeling? Yes, maybe they’re trained to ignore it all. But frankly, you weren’t invited to watch your friend perform in your living room. You and I paid money to see and hear a live play, not the sounds we’re most accustomed to hearing in a dining room.

Kthxby.

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