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February 07, 2010


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Wow, you really liked that -- I hope you can go again, too!

Regarding the sparse standing ovation... Maybe the rest of the audience was embarassed to admit they enjoyed the whole thing.

Or, possibly, the nature of the subject matter meant that they didn't enjoy it. Their loss. The average age of the rest of the audience was, shall we say, closer to my parents' age than mine, so perhaps they were just conservative. Though I can't imagine they didn't know what kind of play it was; the title is not exactly obscure and the reviews have been straightforward. And it's now been extended twice, so it's clearly got good word of mouth. Someone other than me must like it!

Following up on the sparse standing ovation thing: it's odd to me, because I consider myself fairly fussy about what I'll stand up to applaud, whereas quite a few theatergoers in NYC seem to bounce to their feet for anything and everything. I suspect audiences for musicals are heavily populated by busloads of tourists who either are easily impressed by Broadway-scale theater or think that it's expected. This is not the sort of show that buses in tourists. But I also think it's one that even a more sophisticated theatergoer would be impressed by. I certainly was, and I much more theater than average.

Susan... busloads of tourists who (...) think that it's expected

That might be why. That being said, I've never liked being in a position where I have to do something. Applause as a sign that I am thanking them for putting themselves on display, especially if they did a good job, yes. Otherwise, if it's not my choice... Which reminds me. During the Holidays, I went to San Francisco's Castro Theater because it was my chance to finally see North by Northwest on the big screen, even though I know the movie by heart. At the end, a bunch of us spontaneously applauded.

Applause is pretty standard at live theatrical events. At the opera, booing is more accepted as well. But I don't do a standing ovation unless the entire performance is stellar or there is a single performance which goes above-and-beyond, in which case I wait to stand until that person takes an individual bow. But I've noticed at musicals the last few years that the audience applauds when people come on stage (before they do a damned thing) and then gives a standing ovation even to incredibly mediocre shows. It's the theatrical equivalent of grade inflation.

Susan... booing is more accepted as well

This reminds me of a documentary about Nijinsky's choreography for "Rites of Spring" I saw on PBS in the 1990s. Apparently it was not well received at all when it premiered. The throwing of vegetables by Parisians apparently was involved.

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