Texting in the theatre; Washington Post Article

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kec
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An interesting article in today's Washington Post about people texting during a live performance.

Msg to Rude Playgoers: Trn Tht Drnd Thng Off!
Updated On: 10/21/07 at 09:18 PM
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focusingonmoviesmatt
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im guilty of doing it, actually i was doing during the second act of mama mia recently.
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I just don't see the need to communicate with someone during a performance. We go to see a show, not to talk to or text someone during the performance. That can be done before the show, during intermission or after the show. I have had a few texters next to me and in front of me and it is annoying. The light catches my attention and distracts me from the show.
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ashley0139
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Is it really so hard to refrain from texting for a whole two and a half hours? I just don't understand.
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It's absolutely appalling. Unless you have a relative in the hospital about to expire at any moment, there's no justifiable reason to text in a theater.
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Theatre tickets are too expensive for me to be texting during the show. Even if I got them cheap, texting would cause me to be two things that I hate: Pressed and Rude!
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If you have a dying relative in the hospital, I don't see WHY you'd be at a show. re: Texting in the theatre;  Washington Post Article

Seriously, I don't really know who can't go two and half hours without texting someone. I'm thankful I've never seen it in theatres (yet!).
I am a firm believer in serendipity- all the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along.
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I recently saw Spelling Bee, and I was in the second row on the floor. The guy in front of me....IN THE FRONT ROW...was texting!! WTF? I'm almost positive the cast saw him. Also, a few days ago I was in the 5th row of A Chorus Line, and the three women behind me (3 generation: grandmother, mother, and daughter) talked through the ENTIRE show! We shot them a few looks and it just made them talk more about our dirty looks! If people want to text and chat...go to Starbucks!
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I used to be completely 100% against any kind of cell phone use in the theatre. I was always the cell phone Nazi to my friends, insisting that everyone both SILENCE their phone AND turn it completely off.

...but I can now actually see some exceptions.

One of my friends I usually go to the theatre with is extremely respectful, but when his sister was 8-9 months pregnant, he would keep his cell phone ON, but completely silent during the show. That way, he could check quickly and quietly once or twice during the show just to make sure his sister hadn't gone into labor.

Also I have a relative who is a doctor and is often called in on emergencies. He does pretty much the same thing with his beeper, keeping it on complete silent as not to disturb anyone. He checks it unobtrusively just a few quick times during the performance.

Both of these people are avid theatergoers and I don't think a) having a pregnant sister or b) having a job where you can almost always be called in, is any reason to have to stop going to the theatre.

So, if I don't HEAR it or SEE it or NOTICE you checking, I don't see anything wrong with this kind of important cell phone use being someone's personal prerogative.

I still always turn mine on silent AND off.
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When I saw Drowsy Chaperone 3 weeks ago, the woman next to my friend was texting throughout the show. It took every ounce of energy not to grab the phone out of her hand and.....
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It really pisses me off, the theater is so dark that the idiots in front of me checking their cell phones every 2 seconds are REALLY distracting.

If you can't turn the phone off for 2 and a half hours, don't come to the theater.

People have such short attention spans.
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bkonbroadway
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Ahmelie...you're amazing! I LOVE that you take the battery out! If I were that clever, I probably would, too!
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My dad has a BlackBerry. He always feels the need to tell SOMEONE during the overture, "the show is starting." That even sometimes is the whole email! I tell him that the overture is just as important as the rest of the show, but I guess its better than when there are people acting.
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Oskar Eustis always takes his battery out. He has shared this every time I've been to Shakespeare in the Park...
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I can't imagine ever doing this in a Broadway theater. It's bad enough that people do it in movie theaters, but to do it during live art with actors working hard to give you the best quality entertainment possible for something you paid a lot of money to see in the first place...? That's just rude and inconsiderate. These people aren't just disturbing themselves, but the people around them.

bkonbroadway:
FIRST ROW? SERIOUSLY? Wow,they should have been thrown out.
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Even more horrific?

The erosion, too, of what people understand to be the rules of a night at the theater might be accelerating. It was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer a couple of years ago, for instance, that just before the start of a Saturday night performance of "Menopause: The Musical," a pizza deliveryman arrived at the theater "with a large plain pie for a group of women in Row K." (The paper said that the artistic director intervened, explaining to the women that they were "not at the circus.")

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OMG Im seein CHRS LINE itz awesum how R u?!!!

I'm seeing more and more of this in theaters, and I think the self-absorption and lack of consideration this indicates is horrifying. In a darkened theater a Blackberry or Treo screen might as well be a 1000 watt search-light.

If only there were readily available cell phone jammers (that one could quickly locate by doing a Google search.)
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And it doesn't just happen in Broadway Theatres. I went to a double feature film at Film Forum where three high school kids were texting through out both films. My thought was: why did you come to see a movie or play if that's what you are going to do the entire time. It's extremely rude, annoying and pitiful that you can't sit and watch something that is 2 1/2 hours or less. If you MUST text, at least have the courtesy to wait until intermission. Show some respect for people and the actors on the stage. If I were a parent whose child was texting during a performance, I'd take it away. I wouldn't want to pay good money just to have my child, or friend or parent not watch what we came to see. Appalling is the word for it. Go do something else with your short attention span. It is a shame.
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im guilty of doing it, actually i was doing during the second act of mama mia recently.


I always hear of people doing this and of talking on cell phones during shows, but this is the first time that one of those who actually behave in this manner has revealed themselves. Let me take this opportunity to ask the question on everyone's mind.
Why!?

Is your attention span that short that you cannot sit still for 90 mins? (You can always text during intermission if it's that important to you.)

Wait I already know the answer. People do this because they want to do what they want to do and have no care for how it would affect other people.

One of my friends I usually go to the theatre with is extremely respectful, but when his sister was 8-9 months pregnant, he would keep his cell phone ON, but completely silent during the show. That way, he could check quickly and quietly once or twice during the show just to make sure his sister hadn't gone into labor.

Also I have a relative who is a doctor and is often called in on emergencies. He does pretty much the same thing with his beeper, keeping it on complete silent as not to disturb anyone. He checks it unobtrusively just a few quick times during the performance.


Exactly! If these people, the few who actually have an excuse to use a cell phone, know how to use it in a polite and unobtrusive manner, then there is no justification for everyone else to be texting/talking on a phone during a show.
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LittleMsUsher
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I was at a show earlier this evening and there was a guy in front of me with one of those new phones with email and he didn't stop even when asked by the usher to do so. How hard is it to turn it off for two hours.

Now I understand why some ushers get grumpy about cell phones, they even made an announcement and it's posted in the playbill.

I also believe with the latest group of theater patrons they should give them etiquette lessons when they sell tickets.


Updated On: 10/22/07 at 05:06 AM
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There's a reason why they call it a "Crackberry", a lot of people have become compulsive about constantly being on-line. A two and a half hour musical is far too long to go without an internet fix. Many of these people can't even have a two minute personal conversation without checking for messages.

The solution is to make special mini-video versions of current musicals optimized for the 2 inch screens on these little units (with one inch set aside for simultaneous email and internet surfing.) For an extra $200 anyone buying a ticket to a show can get a download code for a one time viewing on their personal device - they can sit in the lobby, enjoy the show and still deal with all that really-important-crucial-up- to-the-minute business-stuff that can't wait.

And any such device that is ever activated during a show should be subject to immediate seizure and destruction. I would be happy to volunteer for Blackberry stomping duty on matinee days.

If your wife is about to deliver a baby or you're a doctor on call- DON"T GO SEE A SHOW!


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Being polite is very difficult for many people it seems. It's all about THEM and the hell with everyone else!

If you think it's bad for the audience, which it is, can you imagine what it is like for the actors on stage? The cell phones and such go off at the worst time, you know, when there is supposed to be a pregnant pause, only to have it give birth to some stupid tune from a cell phone?

It's a sad state of affairs!
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I have to echo Cape Twirl's question to focusingonmoviesmatt -- why? What was so all-fire important that you had to pull out your phone to send a text in the middle of the show?

It's amazing how rude and selfish some people have become. My dad recently attended a luncheon hosted by a group who do blood drives in the area -- my sister-in-law was one of the guest speakers. He commented that during one speech, several people did not pay any attention at all to the speaker, just carried on their own conversations. *shakes head*
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It blows my mind that so many adults these days seem to be incapable of sitting quietly and watching a show for 2 1/2 hours. If you are so bored by the show that you feel the need to text, do the rest of the audience a favor and just leave. If you are enjoying the show, just sit there and enjoy it! You can tell your friends all about it when it's over. I went to a concert last week and so many people in the audience were preoccupied with talking, texting, taking pictures, etc. that I doubt they were really seeing or hearing much of the show. I just kept thinking, you all are missing this experience because you are so distracted.