I purposely took a misleading title. Why? Because I can, that’s my blog, I do what I want. So there.
One might think that the difficult performance refers to someone on stage having a hard time for reason X, Y or Z. But no, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the spectator, in this case, the spectator having a difficult time during the performance.
This, of course, does not apply to rock concerts, where people can be bumping heads in the mash pit, as it is charmingly called. It applies to the big Broadway shows, for example, the ones played in symphony halls, in opera house or some such.
Typically, one might think, since the music isn’t loud and everybody is comfortably seated, that the crowd would behave in order for everyone to enjoy the performance. Not so. It has been steadily worse and worse.
You get the talkers. These are common. Whether the symphonic orchestra is blaring or whispering, someone will lean over to the person seating next to them and talk. The bonus in this instance is that they have to match the voice to the volume of the orchestra or be right above it. They can end up screaming to be heard. Fun!
Some people sing! You go see Hamilton in New York with the original cast, you made the trip just for that, but one of your neighbor is an absolute big fan and knows all the songs. Overwhelmed, he can’t help it, he begins to sing. At first it’s the chorus. But then the music takes the better of him and he destroys the whole show.
Some people dance. You’re at an oldie concert in a symphony hall where some great crooner of the 60’s or 70’s is rocking the house. Oh, you’re seating down, just like everybody else, and the speakers are not melting your head. That’s when the person right in front of you gets in the groove, arms flailing, head waving, body in trance. Good luck seeing anything.
All right, I’ll mention the big one: the phone. I’ve heard phones ringing during operas, then the person doesn’t necessarily answer, but they’ll be texting for awhile, probably something about being at the opera, and please, don’t bother me. The room is dark and the bright light of their screen pulls your eyes away from the stage for 20 minutes (That’s because the person who called probably asked by text what the opera was, is it any good, when will it be done, etc.). Meanwhile on stage the lady is dying and singing softly a tender goodbye song to her lover who’s crying, and you should be crying too, but we got this phone and it’s taking all the light in the theater and, oh well, there goes $200.00 (Tickets can be very expensive), and you leave the theater swearing you’ll never go to another show again.
Yes, because this kind of things is minor inconvenience if it affect only me. But if that happens enough time less and less people will go to see live shows. And it does happen more an more frequently. Meaning, more and more people catch the opera on their TV, or their computer. With a big enough screen and a solid sound system, come on, you can’t tell me you see a difference (There is one!). Too bad. Will the audience actually attending the shows be the one to kill them? Good question. I hope not. Going to see a show, especially one you’ve reserved the ticket for months in advance is a special occasion. You go to the restaurant before or after, you walk around downtown, you make a day of it. Having it ruined by someone disrespectful could be crushing. Did you notice that I didn’t call those ruining the shows any bad names?