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People that talk in theatres
Old 12-22-2008, 11:38 AM   #1
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People that talk in theatres

Looking for some judgmental feedback here.

We went to the theatre the other night to se the Nutcracker. Not the worst performance we have seen. At best, mediocre.
Audience was a serious issue. On my immediate right a family of 4. Parents were late 30s/early 40s, kids 6 and 8 (all my guess).
Mother sat next to me, texted all night on a large bright screen phone/pda. Daughter hummed along with the music.

Mom and Dan shushed their little angel repeatedly but she just hummed along - to a monotone melody in her head. The Mom occasionally hid the phone in her purse, which helped, but through to the end the large bright screen was in my peripheral vision.

The 7 German ladies in the row behind us didn't object - they were too busy talking.

As usual, my wife and I argued afterwards. She is neither bothered nor distracted by this, feels that my irritation is a sign of weakness , and also believes it is tremendously rude for me to look/stare at the noisemakers (that kind of look that says please shut up and let the rest of us enjoy the show). The more I look, the madder she gets - at me. In a past life I actually asked people (politely) to stop talking, but she found that so objectionable that I had to stop to save the marriage. I occasionally put my index finger to my lips (an international sign of quite please) but this sets her off as well.

Am I over-reacting? I admit to having super hearing. I also suspect that this happens more often during poor performances, when I am more easily distracted. Is this age-related crankiness or rudeness on my part? What is an acceptable level of behaviour in a public performance and how should one react when the standards are not met?

Michael
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:56 AM   #2
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I vote rude and inconsiderate, but what really amazes/perplexes me is why one would pay good money to go to a performance, then not pay attention...
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Looking for some judgmental feedback here.
not a problem: spelling theater as theatre doesn't distract from the fact that it should be people who talk in theaters not people that talk in theaters.

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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Not the worse performance we have seen.
worst

hey, you asked for judgmental.

ps, you should have switched seats with your wife since she wouldn't have minded the texting. as to the hummer, i'd have "accidentally" spilled my drink on her, soaking her so badly that she would have had to excuse herself from the audience. to the ladies in back, oh, i don't know, did you have any popcorn you could throw?
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:08 PM   #4
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My tolerance level for "kid noise" depends on the "kid-friendliness" of the venue.

At a live theater, I would expect a lot less carrying on from small children who won't enjoy the experience than if I were (say) out watching a Disney movie. In the latter case, I expect a lot of kids, so if I go there, I expect the inevitable amount of noise.

It's a lot like eating out, too. If I go to a place like Denny's or a typical pizza joint, I expect a lot of kids carrying on so I don't get annoyed by it. But if I'm out for a quiet, romantic meal for two -- the type which can set you back a C-note -- much of what I feel I'm paying for is the atmosphere and ambience, and that means low tolerance for children carrying on around me (or, for that matter, *adults* having LOUD conversations).

So in reality, it depends on what a "reasonable person" would expect at specific venues. If it's something where you'd expect a lot of kids, I expect a lot of noise, and if that's not acceptable, I don't go. But when I expect (and pay for) a more quiet, sedate and romantic experience, my tolerance for "noisy neighbors" quickly approaches zero.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:22 PM   #5
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Looking for some judgmental feedback here.
I think that the general public has been veering towards inconsiderate, loutish, and even offensive behavior in public, generally speaking. One's level of "cool" seems to be measured by how much discomfort you can bring to others' lives.

I suspect this may have some bearing on the increasing popularity of watching DVDs on a smaller screen at home, compared with enjoying the experience of seeing movies on the large screen with higher quality audio equipment. Even if you don't watch the DVD more than once, it is worth the price just to avoid the hassles.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:32 PM   #6
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I am squarely in the OP's corner on this. DW and I love to go to outdoor lawn concerts in the summer to hear the local orchestra. Increasingly it has become a hassle due to all the other people around me talking to each other, on their cell phones or to their kids.

And like the OP, I am the bad guy if I demonstrate my unhappiness with the offenders. I think a squirt gun or a pea shooter is in order. I just need to figure out how to do it unnoticed.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:48 PM   #7
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I dont see anything wrong with asking someone to pipe down....but im in the same boat as you with my SO. She would be sooo embarrassed by such behavior that we would have an argument...or she'd give me the silent treatment all day. Been there, done that.

Then, you have the people who will look at you when you give them the universal sign to shut up, and tell you to 'f$#% off!"....which i imagine would by my first reaction if someone did that to me. A nice polite phrase would be fine....but not a finger signal...or you'd be seeing one of my favorite finger signals. but again, i can be a hot head...so who knows
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
...texted all night on a large bright screen phone/pda...hummed along with the music...too busy talking.
...tremendously rude for me to look/stare at the noisemakers (that kind of look that says please shut up and let the rest of us enjoy the show)...actually asked people (politely) to stop talking...index finger to my lips...
Ah, finally a post I can sink my teeth into. All of the symptoms you described are very typical of today's public, and their lack of considerate behavior.
You are not cranky. There are reasons for the lights being dimmed.
You are nice compared to what I do. But hey, I'm a Noo Yawker, so it's expected.
If someone is talking during a performance, I first do the Sssshhhh thing, followed by the Stare thing.
If neither works, I will actually say very loudly "I'll be right back. I need to get the usher so he(she) can evict people who are talking out loud right now."
You can hear a pin drop after that.
As far as the cell texting goes, offer the offender a program (paper) to shield the light from your eyes.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:00 PM   #9
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OP expresses exactly how I feel.

It even keeps me away from some concerts - like travelover, I cannot go to many of the outdoor lawn concerts anymore. I just get aggravated.

It even bothers me to think that I am the one that apparently needs to be so polite and ask them to please be quiet. Why should I have to be polite, when asking them to stop being impolite (other than the vinegar/honey thing)? And then, some people see me as rude for asking others to be quiet. I don't get it. If they want to talk, why not do it somewhere else?

And yes, someone flashing a phone or video game around in a dark theater is distracting to me also. More and more, I tend to stay home and listen to my CD collection, rather than go out. I don't know you can fight this - you can ask, (I do) but it pretty much ruins the evening for me.

Also, DW is much,much,much more tolerant of this. She thinks I should (mostly) just ignore it. But my senses don't work that way. I'm trying to hear every detail of the performance, and when you are that focused, every little noise is an interruption, because I am listening so intently.

In the future, I might call the theater to ask what their policy is. I would have no problem demanding that rude people be removed. No problem at all.

Like ziggy29 says, the environment is a factor - for some events I can tolerate more casual noise from the people attending. It depends. We were at a fancy french restaurant, and two ladies had some small, somewhat noisy kids with them. Not toooo bad, but for the environment it was not right, and I was ***that*** close to talking to the waiter, but they were almost ready to leave, so I just tried to ignore it.

I always figure those are the same people who are getting bailed out of a cheap mortgage, and it makes it worse for me.

Yes, all this talk makes me feel like I'm just being a grumpy old man, but that is not it, and it just makes it worse. They are the ones that are wrong. That's all there is to it.


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Old 12-22-2008, 01:04 PM   #10
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At our local venue, when you pay $85 to see a ballet, or $100 to hear the symphony, you just find an usher, and they will ask the offenders to desist or leave.

Unfortunately, rudeness is now the norm. We could have a thread here about what is the most obnoxious behavior in public today, and I bet responses would go on and on.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:26 PM   #11
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What astounds me is the number of people nowadays who, when informed that their public behavior is distracting, annoying, inconveniencing, offending, etc to others around them - will let it be known in no uncertain terms that they don't care.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:31 PM   #12
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Unfortunately, rudeness is now the norm. We could have a thread here about what is the most obnoxious behavior in public today, and I bet responses would go on and on.
Sure, since you ask, I'll tell my recent story too........

We were at an Eric Clapton / Lowden Wainwright III concert a few weeks ago. The folks to our left made some critical comments about Clapton (obviously meant for each other but spoken too loudly) and a guy in front of them turned around and told them to keep their opinions to themselves. Then, peace/silence for a least five minutes. Then the guy in front got up and apparently went for an usher. I can't explain the delayed reaction except that perhaps he sat there and stewed over the incident and finally decided to involve an usher. Well, the usher came (it's now been 10 - 15 mins since the Clapton bashers said anything) and asked them to leave the theater. They objected saying they were being quiet, that their comments had been three songs ago, etc. The usher insisted. They objected. And on and on......... The medicine was turning out to be much worse than the disease! Finally, the usher offered alternate seats and they got up and moved.

I thought the handling of the situation by the usher was very poor. He created much more disturbance than the original talkers. And the jerk who went for the usher needed to learn to keep his temper under control since his response to get an usher was long after the talkers got the message and shut up.

I wrote the theater manager and got a resonable response..... like that does a lot of good.

I agree, it's getting tougher and tougher to enjoy public concerts due to, well, the public.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:31 PM   #13
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If you are going to see the nutcracker during the holidays, you are
most likely going to get an atmosphere similar to that of "finding nemo" at a saturday
afternoon movie matinee.

I usually try to find something else if i want to
see a holiday themed event. I've seen the nutcraker enough
anyways.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:32 PM   #14
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I do not know what this has to do with the problem but, from a friend of mine down in NE Florida, told me his tickets were free. Seems the Blood Mobile was handing them out along with some other perks for donating a pint of blood earlier this month. So maybe some of the rude people were just there free and did not understand the show was not the usual high tech, screaming screens, stuff they were used to.

Frankly, this is exactly why I do not go to movies and shows - rather see the stuff on the old movie channel or on DVD in the comfort of my own couch.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:32 PM   #15
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I am all for quietly and respectfully asking people to please be quiet but I got to tell you, more than a few times I have been in a theater and the truly obnoxious one isn't the one talking to their friend, its the insane susher who distracts the entire theatre with his or her theatrics. General hint, when you are making more noise than the person you are trying to quiet, you are the rude and obnoxious one. In your case though, it doesn't sound like it escalated to that point.

Though I like the people who have the ushers take care of it. They never make a scene AND they get rid of the distraction. They always have my gratitude.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:55 PM   #16
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I agree completely - very rude. I do not like distractions in theatres.

However, thanks to Netflix I have not been out to a movie since Lord of the Rings.
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
My tolerance level for "kid noise" depends on the "kid-friendliness" of the venue.

At a live theater, I would expect a lot less carrying on from small children who won't enjoy the experience than if I were (say) out watching a Disney movie. In the latter case, I expect a lot of kids, so if I go there, I expect the inevitable amount of noise.
I think he said this was The Nutcracker. Although I've been to quite a few Nutcrackers, I was always either a kid myself or taking my kids. It may be unrealistic to expect quiet from a bunch of hyped up kids on a Christmas outing.

Ha
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:58 PM   #18
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I think it does depend somewhat on the venue. This is a Christmas/kids event so a little tolerance would be good. I would give the kid a little slack and probably the women behind you too. That being said, phones(pda's,etc), are never,EVER, acceptable in a theatre(movie or play). Ask 1 time and only 1 time for her to put it away then make sure it gets put away by any means neccesary. If someone can't go 2 hours without their phone they shouldn't be in a theatre.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:29 PM   #19
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Sat next to a woman at the opera who sang along. Yes! Not fun times.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:34 PM   #20
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not a problem: spelling theater as theatre doesn't distract
Why is the spelling a factor?
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