The Christian Lifestyle: Theatre Etiquette

I know you did a segment on rave etiquette, but what should I keep in mind for Theatre for the movies? — Anonymous

While I can clearly see you’re taking the optimistic route — let me guess, the water cup is half-full — I however prefer straight-up, blunt critique with a side of edamame and anger. This is a general list of implied social implications in our American episteme of what not to do at a theatre or cinema venue: things that need to be corrected in dark-red blood-colored complete-rage-mode red pen.

With select exceptions — triggers at the forefront, followed by bladder necessities — leaving a venue, especially in a Theatre, is an unforgivable sin. Now you may be thinking: but Mister Man, hell is an endless margarita bar at a five-star beach resort where Satan welcomes you with a lei, endless booze and a flamboyant “Welcome to hell.” No. You see, judgement is in the eyes of everyone as your silhouette blocks Elphaba’s deflating lungs when she ascends to greatness or white boy Zac Efron when — surprise surprise — his chiseled abs are once again the plot device of every script. You are disrupting the continuity of the performance because — news flash — you were not written into the shooting script or blocked into the set. I have seen this rule violated primarily as a way to protect privilege. Once, after an “f-bomb” on-stage, nearly a third of the audience walked out. During a campus performance, there was dialogue that didn’t protect people’s privilege. Oh no, the world’s not here to coddle your confined epistemological view of the world where everyone goes country clubbing at the resident golf course, slobbering over gentrification and $30 burgers. Because you’re going to disregard how hard the production team and cast have worked to bring fresh narratives into the world, let me get one thing straight for you: Kasich’s. Gonna. Lose.

The opposite side of the spectrum, in contrast to people leaving early, is people arriving late. This applies more so to performances than movies — because, for some reason, people care about seeing previews for the same recycled movie plot — but spare no exceptions on this. Arriving late to your seat is terminally offensive, especially during intermission. I was just at the Orpheum and the disregard for the playbill’s “INTERMISSION IS FIFTEEN MINUTES” in bold, Times New Roman — that’s when you know it’s real — reduced me to a state of vegetation as audience members continued filing back into their seats three minutes into the performance. I could feel the orchestra members perforating with disgust with the trumpet player on the verge of submitting his resignation letter. Look, if you hate brown rice and want it white then holla: Respect that other people are present as well and don’t disrupt continuity — you can’t resuture it.