Friday, 30 December 2011

Letter to Lady in centre of Row H, Upper Circle, Thurs 29th Matinee at Oliver

Dear 29/30H,

The back of my chair was not your foot stool. I had every right to put my coat on the back of my chair and the fact that they therefore covered your feet was not a comment on how smelly your feet were. And breaking out of your welsh speaking to talk loudly about smelly feet in English, clearly for my benefit, just made it worse.

I’m not sure if you felt that being higher up the raked seating than me meant that you were elevated in rank. This isn’t the case, by the way. If you’re in the upper circle, you’re in the cheap seats whatever, so you can get over that right now. 

I felt that putting your feet on the back of my chair was not only rude and disrespectful to me, but the theatre as well. I didn’t see any of the many kids there doing that. Isn’t that just a little bit embarrassing for you?

While we’re on that – I’d been concerned about going to the matinee during the school holidays for fear of screaming kids with rustling sweets. Funnily enough, it turns that it was adults (that’s right, I mean you) that were more disruptive.

The quiet, intimate scenes between the big ensemble pieces are not an invitation for you to have a loud conversation. Those scenes are part of the show too; they contain relevant information to progress the story.

Why would you pay that much money to see a show, just for a catch up? There are cafes and pubs nearby. You could catch up there for the price of a round or two of drinks in an atmosphere where chatting is encouraged.

Even if the chatting is about the show... it can wait for the interval. If you really, really, can’t keep your obviously witty and deep observation until then, then whisper it to the person next to you. Whispering is where you lower the volume of your voice so only people very close by can hear, in case you weren’t sure.

Though I can’t understand the need to have food and drink in the theatre, I appreciate lots of people nowadays have a compulsion to do this like they’re in some gigantic living room waiting for Eastenders to come on.  However, if you (an adult, I remind you) drop your juice box on the floor (that’s right, a juice box!) please don’t kick it so it drops under the seat in front of you so it’s leaking under that persons chair instead. This made my sister feel very twitchy in the second half, drawing attention away from the performance to wonder whether her bag was getting soaked in E number rich liquid.

As great as it is that shows like Oliver draw in a crowd that may not otherwise go to the theatre, it’s disappointing that it also brings with it a lack of theatre etiquette which, really, is just a matter of being well behaved and mindful that there are other people trying to enjoy the show around you.

“Don’t put your feet on the back of someone else’s chair” is just, generally, good manners.


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