Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Stop Phoning It In!

Not in the way you may be thinking...

Just read this article about cellphones ruinous effects not only by audiences on performances, but on backstage by cast and crew of the shows themselves. I have been there.

For my own part, I do have a cell phone, and have had for most of my years in the theatre. But I have several rules for it's being with me during a show.

1) It stays in the green room or the dressing room. If I am in the house watching the rehearsal, I do not need a phone with me for that, and I would be sickened to have my phone interrupt the rehearsal process.

2) It goes on mute once I get to the theater. Not only could a ring still be heard on stage, depending on the venue, but I have always viewed the green room as a sanctuary for actors, each of whom require a different level of preparation and respite. I'd rather be over-considerate of that than under-considerate.

3) If I don't have time between my scenes to use the bathroom comfortably, than i don't have time to check my phone. I was once in a show where between my final scene in Act I, the intermission, and my first scene in Act II, 50 minutes elapsed. Fifty. That remains my longest break between scenes ever, and I would check messages at some point during it. I also do so for shorter breaks than that one at times, (especially if fantasy football is involved) but if I need to scramble to get back on stage, I'm doing things wrong.

Though I try not to be the cell phone police in a show, i will mention to someone if their phone is going off causing a disturbance. Once or twice I moved the guilty phone to another location of my own accord.

Most of the people I have worked with in shows have been good about phones, but even the local groups I sometimes do shows with have had an increase in cell phone encroachment from both audience and cast/crew. It is worrisome, and it pisses me off, to be frank.

At least, however, there is some tiny solace that even the big dogs, such as the actors and the venues mentioned in the article, have to deal with the same sort of bologna.

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