Friday, January 22, 2010

Does your momma know?

Okay, I know I'm morphing into an cranky old lady at the speed of light, but what gives with audiences at live performances these days? I attended a play last fall and far too many of the audience members behaved as if they were watching a movie in their living room where the actors couldn't hear them, nor could any of the audience members. Crackling candy wrappers, beeping watches, too loud conversations, up and down out of their seats like jacks-in-the-box... LETTING A CELL PHONE RING MANY TIMES AND THEN ANSWERING IT AND HAVING A CONVERSATION. I kid you not.

Tonight, in the same theatre for a symphony performance, it was similar. Two pieces into the show, the "ladies" next to me were still carrying on a spirited conversation. Yes, I'm talking about you, seats K39 and 40. If you have a burning need to talk that much, why not save yourself $35 bucks each and stay home? Turn on the radio! Play a CD! And shout to your heart's content without annoying anyone. Admittedly, the orchestra probably couldn't hear them as it was playing James Bond themes, but the audience members around them certainly could and I'm almost positive none of us would pay $35 to hear these two chat.*

Next to them, a woman with a baby who looked to be about 3 or 4 months old. Lady. Would not the fact that yours is the only baby in the building clue you in to the idea that perhaps... just perhaps, this is not the venue for a small baby? To be fair, he behaved himself very admirably (he was quieter than the two women between us, that's for sure) and only let out a tiny little cry on one occasion, but seriously. Get a babysitter. Or stay home. This isn't the Wiggles.

There were at least 8 people (4 couples) that I saw who arrived over 20 minutes late. And all of them had seats in the centre of the aisle. One of them I KNOW knows better because she's a performer herself.

After the intermission, a couple just behind me decided this was a fine time for a chat. I don't know. Maybe it's me. But I rarely have anything to say that can't wait until the break between songs, or the intermission or the end... if it were something like, "I'm having a heart attack!" or "I'm going into labour!" or "Fire!" I could understand, but seriously, what ON EARTH is so important that it has to be discussed right there, right then?**

Then there were the Einsteins who stopped at the top of the stairs as we were exiting to the foyer. There were at least half of the 1,000 audience members streaming out behind them. Did they WANT to risk getting pushed down the stairs? It's hard to stop 500 people when they've built up a head of steam. Then they decided that they had walk across to the other side of the top of the staircase and I heard the guy say, "ExCUSE ME!" in a tone that implied how DARE these people be in my way? Good job you're not a salmon, buddy. You don't even know there IS a stream, never mind how to fit in with it.

But then there were the charming moments. The singers (pop and big band music, not classical) had the audience joining in and waving our arms in the air (like ya just don't CARE!) and after everyone else had dropped out there was one older lady ahead of me who was ROCKIN' the arm movements. All by herself. It was so adorable.

And there was an older guy just ahead of me who looked to be about 70 or so who was rocking out in his seat so violently during one song he was moving the three or four seats on either side of him. No kidding, that whole section of the row was shakin' in time to the music. He was clearly really enjoying himself and the people around him didn't seem to mind. Of course, they were Canadian, so they'd just silently seethe anyway***, but I didn't notice any sidelong glances, which our version of, "OI! SHUT YER GOB!!"

I had to do the math, though. This was music that was very popular just after my high school years. If he's as old as he looks, he would have been in his 40s then. I could see someone my age gettin' all jiggy wit' it over this stuff because it invokes your independent but still single years when you lived to go to the clubs and you had your whole life ahead of you and ANYTHING was possible. But this guy probably had a mortgage and a couple of kids in junior high when this stuff was on the radio. Who rocks out to the music of their 40s? Go figure.

Then as we were leaving the parking lot, there was a car parked in the roadway between the two halves of the parking lot. Meaning it was narrowed to one lane. 1,000 people leaving a theatre and they have to filter through one lane to get out of the damned parking lot. I harboured tire slashing fantasies for a moment, I'll confess. If I could have arranged to have the car towed, I would have.

And I swear to God one of the trumpet players was chewing gum on stage.

But, all in all I really enjoyed the concert. And I kept thinking, "Blog fodder!" so there's that.

And now you'll have to excuse me. I gotta go tell some kids to get off my goddamned lawn.

*To their credit, they clammed up after I gave them a quick shot of the patented, Just-Wait-Until-I-Get-You-Home stare, perfected by mothers the world over.

**They, too, caved after the JWUIGYH micro-stare. It's a miracle I got out of the theatre alive.

***People think Canadians are so polite, but we're just as rude as the rest of the world. We just do it telepathically.


Blogger Zed said...

Your last point about Canadians being polite. BULLSHIT. I met a very rude, obnoxious and arrogant twunt when trying to get my hotel room at some unearthly hour in the morning. OK, there were about 300 other people all trying to get a room, but this man was so rude.

I know he was Canadian because he had a maple leaf badge sewn on his baseball cap. So there.

January 23, 2010 at 8:34 a.m.  
Blogger Pseudonymph said...

The representative sample of TWO that I know (that should be *know*) demonstrates to me that 100% of Canadians are delightful and well mannered.
I recall a time at the Big Day Out, where I was listening to the end of a set by Evermore, and the guy next to me was doing the whole whistle thing. He turned to me and apologised for being so loud. "Not at all," I replied. "I'm sure you spent $135 just to hear me sing"

and wv exork.
Exork from Ork. Exork and Mindy. Nanoo Nanoo.

January 23, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.  
Blogger WrathofDawn said...

I said people "think" we're polite, Zed, my pet. He must have been from Toronto.*

Is everything okay with you?

*Erin, you're not "from" TO, are you?

January 23, 2010 at 2:07 p.m.  
Blogger JP said...

This is the very reason I no longer go to the movies. I'll wait for something to come out on DVD rather than suffer the "slings and arrows."

BTW thanks for the quote about "priorities and options" (FB Profile)

January 23, 2010 at 3:18 p.m.  
Blogger Squeakypony said...

Tolerance of crowds is overrated.
Am I getting older and wiser, or is the gormless average man/woman in the street just getting more average by the hour?

January 23, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.  
Blogger Erin said...

Don't worry Dawn - I just live in close proximity to 'the centre of the universe.' I'm originally from Ottawa. Please don't hold that against me, either. ;)

January 25, 2010 at 6:09 a.m.  
Blogger TRT said...

I've been there. Dawn's right. Canucks are EXACTLY like the English but with an accent and more snow.
Hell, I was served the most poe-faced, rude waitress you ever did meet up near the lakes north of Toronto. I think the final straw was something to do with asking to get a pot of hot water to freshen the tea pit up. I'll dig an exact location of this place out if Ricardipus asks... anyway, as I departed I left ONE RED CENT in the tip tray and told the woman I'd only done that so as she would get no mileage out of bitching that I hadn't even left her that as a tip.

January 25, 2010 at 6:30 a.m.  
Blogger WrathofDawn said...

TRT, I believe the operative word there is "Toronto."

Squeakypony - You are absolutely, 100% CORRECT, sir!

JP - You are most welcome. That quote has revolutionized my life.

Oh, P'nymph, you crazy, cock-eyed optimist, you!

Oh good, Erin. You're not FROM the dark side, you just life there. Like Ceiling Cat visiting the basement but not becoming one with it.

January 27, 2010 at 7:24 p.m.  
Blogger Ricardipus said...

You know, you really shouldn't bottle this stuff up inside you like this. It's unhealthy. Let it out, I say - you'll feel better.

P.S. I'm not from Toronto either.

February 9, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.  
Blogger WrathofDawn said...

I KNOW you're not. On account of you're far too nice.

To be fair, my apologies to Toronto. Sometimes I just can't pass up on the easy, cheap joke.

February 9, 2010 at 6:58 p.m.  

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