TODAY's QUOTEThose who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
~ Frederick Douglas
Reading Lolita in Tehran
BOOKS READ THIS YEAR
Broadway Songbook of 1966
Sex and the City
Breakfast: Raisin Bran
Getting to know me....
(that's probably synonymous with
23 February 2004
I groaned inwardly when the show started.
Dick Brunelle, the Davis stalwart, former music teacher at the high school, a city favorite, came out on stage to a standing ovation. It was the last time he would act as accompanist for the Citizens Who Care fund raising concert, a job he has proficiently tackled for the past 12 years, long past his retirement from the musical stage elsewhere.
The Citizens Who Care show is one of the theatrical highlights of the Davis year. Conceived and written each year by Stephen Peithman and Martha Dickman, each year focuses on a specific aspect of the musical stage--originally it focused on the music of a specific songwriter or songwriting team, like Rogers and Hammerstein, or Lorenz Hart, or Johnny Mercer or a number of other spotlighted musicians.
Songs are chosen and performed by a marvelous cast of 8, plus Stephen as narrator and Dick at the piano. All of the performers are friends of ours, some good friends and some casual friends.
The audience is filled with "blue-hairs," heavy on retirement age and beyond, though with enough of a sprinkling of younger people to give it a good age mix. But the target audience is those who remember musicals like South Pacific and Oklahoma! and countless other famous and not so famous Broadway musicals.
This years theme was "Broadway Songbook of 1966" and included numbers from Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, The Fantastics, Hello Dolly and more. The tunes were all familiar.
So when Dick started the overture I groaned as the woman sitting next to me began humming along. Its the kind of show where the audience is all friends, and the guys on stage are all your friends and the music is all familiar, and you feel comfortable. Some people just cant stand not to join in and hum along.
Fortunately, this woman did not continue to hum throughout the show.
But she might have.
Now that Ive been working as a critic for some four years, Ive discovered that some audiences have changed from what I remember of theatre in years past. Maybe its always been this way, or maybe Im just going to more theatre so Im seeing more rudeness and its always been there.
Humming--or in some cases singing along with the performers on stage is a biggie. Thank goodness it doesnt happen often, and usually the person sings softly (usually off key) but if the person is sitting next to me, its extremely irritating. And Im too much of a wimp to say "could you please not sing." (Someone pointed out to me recently that I am the classic doormat. I think this proves the point!)
At a recent performance of a very intense straight play, a couple sitting in front and to the side of us engaged in a conversation at normal voice tones for a long time. Doormat that I am, I glared at them, but since they were high school kids, a mere glare from someone old enough to be their grandparent wasnt going to have any effect. Fortunately someone else--one of the high school teachers, in fact--got up and told the kids to be quiet. They were. For awhile.
We once attended a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan given by the touring company of the DOyly Carte Opera company. Hot stuff. A woman had brought her child to see the famous Gilbert & Sullivan company and spent the first half of the first act explaining to the child everything that was going on on stage. With no attempt whatsoever to whisper. When she was asked to lower her voice, she glared at the person making the request as if he had a nerve asking her to be quiet when talking to her child.
People who have grown up in the age of television, where you can watch just about anything in your living room, where you can also have a conversation and not disturb anybody but the person youre talking with, has made a generation of people clueless when it comes to proper behavior in a legitimate theatre.
You do not talk out loud during the performance (or, for that matter, during the overture. Even people who know better seem to think that the overture is there as background music, and not as part of the totality of the show).
You do not talk on your cell phone or play games on your cell phone, with the light from the LCD screen shining in the faces of the people behind you.
You turn off your beepers, cell phones, and any other noise making device which might go off unexpectedly during the performance.
You do not stand up and take a flash photo when your daughter appears on stage.
And most importantly, you do not sit next to ME and hum along with the singers on stage.
If you must hum, or sing, find a sing-along-performance of The Wizard of Oz or The Sound of Music or some other show that is now making the rounds in the sing-along format.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Weight Lost to date: 45.8 lbs