Escapism can come in many forms and mostly, in this day and age, it includes a screen. Television, computer games and even writing (unless you favour the pen and paper approach) all involve staring at a screen for long periods of time. It can come as a relief to escape the real world in a manner that is kind on the eyes. Reading, or going to the theatre...
As I mentioned in my previous post, this week I went to the theatre. It was a brilliant play but the audience were not so brilliant. The majority obviously enjoyed it as the cast bowed to a standing ovation and lots of whooping and clapping (and not just from me). Yet I could have sworn that those around us were bored out of their minds.
I had two teenage girls sat in front of me. The lower end of the teens but still old enough to know better. They had hats on and kept bobbing up and down in their seats. They are incredibly lucky that I didn’t snap, place my hands firmly on their heads and push them down. One even turned around and watched me. Why do people do that?
Also in front was a couple. He had very obviously been dragged along and had brought a picnic with him. He rustled his bags, threw his big head back to down sweets, obscuring my view, glugged soft drinks and then looked behind him (at us!). When we got out a bag of sweets and rustled it for a moment, he immediately turned to see what we were doing.
Further in front was an older couple. As Bill Sykes pulled a pearl necklace out of his mouth, she leaned over to her husband and hissed loudly in his ear, ‘what’s that?’ Why don't you watch and find out? And why don't people know how to whisper?
Somewhere off to the left and out of sight someone had brought a very young child who naturally didn’t know what was going on and was bored. And crying. Loudly.
Further in front was a girl texting and a man, watching the football on his mobile.
What is wrong with people? Why can’t people go to the theatre, sit quietly, sit still and enjoy the performance? Why can’t people put their phones away for one evening? Why can’t young people understand the concept of respect, not only for the people sat behind them who want to watch the performance but for the performers?
Being loud in a theatre is not the same as being loud in a cinema. In a cinema you are only being disrespectful to your fellow audience. In a theatre you are also being rude and disrespectful to the actors on stage, which in this case included a lot of very small children acting, singing and dancing their hearts out.
I would be mortified if I made a loud noise during a play, or if I got my mobile out to text someone, or if I had stupidly brought a very small child to an evening play they simply aren't old enough to understand. Theatre audience etiquette is something that all young people should learn, theatre is something that everyone should be exposed to.
I find the short attention spans of young people very worrying, along with their dependence on their gadgets. Turn your mobile off, sit comfortably, sit still and watch the play. Revel in the performances, the talent, the scenery and the story and disappear into another world without having to stare at a screen. Escape. Just for a few hours.