Mildly diverting things a clueless immigrant learnt this week: the stage play

by awindram

[tweetmeme source=”awindram” only_single=false]This week we take more of a theatrical bent.

  1. Inappropriately cheering the entrance of a famous performer in the middle of a dramatic scene: 
    Broadway fans, I know it must be pant-wettingly exciting for you to see Bernadette Peters in the flesh or Elaine Stritch in sobriety, but do you need to whoop, holler and cheer each time anyone vaguely famous enters the stage? Applauding the first time a popular actor appears might be fine for an episode of Happy Days or when Kramer bursts through Jerry’s apartment door on Seinfeld, but really people, let’s keep the applause and squealing for the curtain call. Speaking of which: 
  2. Standing ovations:
    Is there nothing an American audience won’t give a standing ovation to? It may be the dullest play or the most forgettable of concerts, but rest assured once it’s all over half the audience will jump to their feet and start the applause. The whole point of standing ovations is that they should be given sparingly when something is exceptional, rather than as a matter of course. If you give one for everything, no matter how middling it was, it’s kind of missing the point. And it makes me look like a miserable old git (Which, in fairness, I usually am at an American theatre. The lack of overpriced ice cream at the interval puts me in a foul mood) when I’m resolute in my seat and everyone else is standing. 
  3. Weird faux-British accents when performing Shakespeare:  
    Why must American actors insist on putting on a silly voice when they do Shakespeare? You know the one, it’s not quite British, it’s not quite American, but it ends up making their performance sound haltering, over-earnest, over-enunciated and uncanningly like some awful tit who spends every summer weekend dressing up in chain mail at their local Renaissance Fair. Just do it in your own accents – it’ll sound so much better. Take full advantage and pride in the myriad of rich, sonorous American voices that exist, ’cause I swear if I have to sit through another production of King Lear where everyone sounds like they’re in a Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, I’m going come up on that stage and I’m going garrote the fool myself – and God help the poor sod playing Gloucester. 

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