Patti LuPone finally took definite action by taking the phone of a young woman who consistently texted during the performance while LuPone says she is tired of people who are controlled by their phones.
Through the ages, theatre has been considered a sacred platform where only the best of the best can perform. To act, sing and perform on the stage live in front of an audience is no mere feat and to achieve that as a profession has to be applauded as they usually are.
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In the past few years, there seems to be a passing disregard towards theater. It has been to say in a sense been limited like orchestral music to the taste of certain people and the younger generation fails to appreciate the depth of the noble art of theatre. The reason being one and very simple; electronic gadgets.
Actors have been in an absolute torment over the use of cameras and video recorders and most recently cell phones. Most of them might not express their disapproval in a rather public way but Tony award winning actress Patti LuPone has had it with disruptions during her performances.
Most recently, during the performance of the Douglas Carter Beane comedy “Shows for Days,” in which Ms. LuPone plays a small-town theater diva, at the at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater; Ms. LuPone was very much disturbed by a young woman who was seated in the front row and was constantly texting someone. At one point or another, she also showed what she was texting to her partner seated next to her.
Ms. LuPone said that the young woman barely even saw the play and was immersed in her phone throughout the performance. Ms. LuPone said that it didn’t help that she was sitting in the front row either because she was in plain sight of the actors and surely distracting and unnerving every one of them. She said most of them were talking during intermission about what she might be texting or whom.
So Ms. LuPone had to take some action this time. At the end of the play, when the actors bow out and shake hands with the audience in the front row, Ms. LuPone carefully shook the young woman’s and took her phone while at it.
She then walked off with the phone in her hand to backstage. It was handed to the stage manager who later handed it to the house manager who returned the phone to its owner. Ms. LuPone says that the audience who witnessed the scene that happened were half awed and half applauded the actress’ action.
This was followed by a performance of the play at the Wednesday’s matinee show where four cellphones went off, twice from the same phone. It created, as Ms. LuPone put it, “a cacophony of noise.”
Before that even, Ms. LuPone stopped a performance of “Gypsy” in 2009 to berate someone who was taking photographs. She talked about the frustration of having to police theatrical etiquette.
Ms. LuPone expressed her sentiments saying that the actors work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones.
She said that they cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else, the majority of the audience at that performance and the actor on stage.
She added that she felt defeated by this issue that she is seriously questioning whether she wants to work on stage anymore. Instead of giving up she said that she is putting battle gear on over her costume to marshal the audience as well as perform. The example of which was witnessed by the most recent phone snatching act.
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