cities across the country, September marks the beginning
of new seasons in the performing arts. Here are a few guidelines
to help make your experience attending performances such
as an opera, symphony or ballet more enjoyable, and avoid
offending those around you.
the part. Going
to the theatre is a fun, dress-up affair. Take time
before the event to plan and choose what you will
wear. In most cases, it is not appropriate to show
up wearing the style clothes better associated with
a back yard barbecue. Avoid wearing jewelry such
as earrings, bangles, or beads that make noise when
you move. Go light on perfumes that may cause allergy
discomfort for others. Remove hats, especially and
including baseball caps, when in the theatre. For
men it is most inappropriate to wear any hat indoors,
and for women it is not recommended as it may obstruct
the view of others in the audience.
the score. If you are unfamiliar
with what is being performed, do as much homework
as possible before the show to best understand the
nuances of the event. Check out recordings at the
library or go on-line to sites such as www.metopera.org/synopses or www.classical.net to
read about the story, composer, and music. Many performances
include notes and a show synopsis in the program.
on time. It may be considered fashionable
to arrive a few minutes late to a party, but this
is not at all true for the theatre. Confirm the start
time of the performance and plan accordingly. It
is best to arrive early, so that you have time to
find your seat, relax, and read the program notes
and show synopsis. There is no standard that performances
begin at 8:00 p.m. and are punctuated by intermissions.
Latecomers are often requested to remain in the back
of the hall, or outside in the lobby or viewing room,
until the end of the first act or movement. For performances
without an intermission, you could be completely
shut out if you arrive late.
lightly. It is best to eat and drink
in moderation before a performance. A large meal
may make you sleepy. Your elegant evening may be
destroyed if your companion has to nudge you awake
when you nod your head or start to snore! Choose
another time to eat lots of garlic, onions, chili
peppers, beans, and other odorous foods. Keep in
mind that you will be sitting with a large group
of people for several hours. There is nothing worse
than smelling the person near you all evening.
DURING THE PERFORMANCE:
still. Please sit still and be
quiet throughout the performance. Refrain from
fidgeting, moving your head and body around, rustling
papers, tapping your feet or hands, humming along,
or carrying on conversations---even in a whisper.
To keep from coughing, be prepared with a cough
drop. Carry your drops or candy at the top of your
purse or pocket with the wrapper loosened ahead
of time, to keep the noise of undoing the cover
to a minimum.
the electronics. Above all, make
sure your cell phone and other electronic devices
are turned off during the entire performance. If
you absolutely must hear from someone, keep the
device on the vibrate mode and fully leave the
theatre to answer the call.
in your space. Be sure to sit up
straight in your seat. Do not lean forward in your
chair, especially when seated in an upper level
row. You may be unaware that this terribly obstructs
the view of those behind you. Choose one armrest
to use, not both. Keep your elbows, knees, and
feet within your designated space.
the performance. Do not read your
program—or anything else—during the
performance, especially using a penlight. Instead,
read the program ahead of time or during the intermission.
appreciative. Applause and cheers
are an integral part of the performance. It is
the true reward for the performers. However, be
sensitive about when it is appropriate to applaud
at a performance. Generally speaking,
DO applaud ...
the conductor as he or she first arrives on stage.
at the end of each act in an opera or play.
after the last movement in a musical piece.
as loudly as you desire at the conclusion of the
DO NOT applaud ...
the star performer as he or she first enters the
between movements in a musical piece.
after each aria or song a performer sings.
when you first view a new set on stage.
the finale. Do
not make a mad dash for the door the moment
the curtain falls or the last note is played.
It is very rude to ask folks to let you out
while they are showing the performers their
appreciation with applause and cheer. Plus,
if you leave right away, you may miss an encore
performance. Let people closer to the aisles
of the most telling signs of a theatre-savvy
person is how they cheer a performer. When
cheering a woman performer, the proper term
When cheering only a man performer, the proper
term is BRAVO!
When cheering both men and women performers,
the word to say is BRAVI! (Pronounced “bra
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