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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

curated: going to the theater sounds as bad as going to the movies these days…

Maybe this is what happens when so many stage productions are merely repurposed movies. People just think a theater is an extension of their private space, their home, where they watch Netflix and don’t need to show any consideration to strangers?

From The New York Times:

Last month, The Stage, a British theater newspaper, revealed that several London venues had bought the [body cameras] to combat an increase in aggressive, alcohol-fueled theatergoers.

“When you mix in alcohol with the theater environment, that can exacerbate situations,” Phil Brown, the head of risk and safety at the Society of London Theater, told the paper. Some front of the house staff members had refused to work Friday and Saturday nights because of the public’s bad behavior, he said.

Adam Charteris, 28, an actor who works as an usher between jobs, said in a telephone interview that audience members had sworn at him, and that he had seen fights. He blamed high ticket prices for the worsening conduct. “It puts so much pressure on a night out,” he said, “and the second something goes wrong it becomes a big emotional issue.”

Incidents could erupt from something as minor as someone kicking the back of your chair, he said.

Behavior was worse around emotional events like Christmas, Mr. Charteris added. A few years ago, on Valentine’s Day, “two couples started swinging at each other in the middle of Row J,” he said. “It was just extraordinary.”

Mr. Charteris said the general feeling among ushers was that the audiences for so-called jukebox musicals were the worst behaved. These shows, which string together well-known pop songs, usually end with the audience singing and dancing in a finale that’s more like a rock concert than a play. But London’s more upmarket productions are not immune from rowdy behavior, either.

I’m flabbergasted. But not really, either.

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