Friday, October 22, 2010

American Theatre Magazine / Readership HATES Technology and Youth

The following is a post which makes the case that American Theatre Magazine, and a good chunk of its readership, hates technology and youth.

Exhibit A - AMT recently posted this status update on their Facebook page:

"Has theatregoing etiquette seriously declined in recent years? And if so, what's the cause, and what might be a good solution?"

Objection Your Honor, leading. Seriously this is the baseball equivalent of a full-count hanging curve lumbering towards a 280 pound steroid chomping salivating monster. Think I'm exaggerating? Here are some of the responses (WARNING: Lots of typos and vitriolic-ALL-CAPS-language directed at technology to follow):

"I'm gonna blame technology, stupidity, and the arrogance that the world revolves around you in such a way that you must constantly keep your cell phone on - since I opened a show last night and the HM told the audience TWICE to shut off their cell phones and not one, but TWO, decided a good time to shut off theirs would be after we had started the show. So a few lines, LOUD AS HELL SHUT OFF MEDLEY!"

"Etiquette in general has declined in recent years. Everyone is too busy texting or has a cell phone glued to their ear. You will find this annoying behaviour not only in theatres, but churches, doctor's offices, courts, restaurants...Ban cell phones. And start the shows on time with late - comers locked out! RESPECT."

"Yes there has been..cellphone use being the biggest well as my own pet peeve..people not being able to go 50 min's w/out a sip of water, so right at some pivotal poignant moment in a play, you hear the chug-a-lug glurp glurp of someone w/a 32oz Poland Spring being brought up to their lips."

Oh yeah, and don't forget this guy ...

"There is absolutely a decline in theatre etiquette. Reasons: partly our narcissitic, entitled society utterly oblivious to those around them; partly our inability to disconnect from our technology for a couple of hours (why this compulsion... to respond to any phone, text,or email immediately? There are times I don't want to be found, the theatre being one of them); partly the inability to dsitinguish between manners appropriate in public and one's living-room TV manners (this ain't a DVD; if I miss something because you're jabbering, I can't go back. And it isn't American Idol; we don't need the excessive, overwrought "applause sign" behaviour of whooping and cheering nor meaningless standing ovations). I'm in favour of aggressively chucking out crass yobs and using the technology that is already there to block cell phone signals in theatres, restaurants, churches, and cars (make it legal in these cases). It should be like smoking...if your priority is to yak on the phone, go outside and don't inflict your bloody boring life and rude behaviour on the rest of us. I've already been chased out of the movie houses by boorish behaviour; I don't want it happening in the live theatre."

And you thought I was exaggerating. But if you still don't believe my thesis, that American Theatre Magazine and a large portion of their readership hates technology and youth, here is Exhibit B: They Don't Have an Online Version of the Magazine

If AMT wants anyone under thirty-years-old to peruse their pages, those 20-somethings need to be able to download that shit on the iPhone.

But that'll NEVER happen because apparently their readership is actively engaged in coming with newfangled plans to disable and destroy cell phones:

"Cell phone scramblers in public performance venues!"

"Ban cell phones."

"I recommend lead-lined theaters."

"All theaters should have Cell Phone Blockers on their rooftops so no phones work in the theater."

More Evidence:

Just from earlier today, a status update from AMT reads: "What (theatrical) topic would you like to discuss on Facebook today?"

Cue the chorus of bitching and misspellings ...

"The annoying prevalence of microphones snaking down the sides of actors' faces and millimeters from their mouths, often obscuring their expressions. Why does every show end up looking like something out of a Madonna concert? It's especially anachronistic with costume dramas. Whatever happened to the time-honored tradition of teaching DICTION and PROJECTION? Really? In this day and age of technical theatrical marvels, how have we become so sloppy?"

"The downward spiral of theatre photography, brought about by every Tom, Dick and Harriet owning a digicam, making them erroneously assume they are now able to produce stellar publicity images, even though they barely know how to press the shutter button, let alone know how to make a representative image that will fill the theatre's seats."

"The death of interpersonal communication from the use of social media sites."

And of course, this guy again ...

"you have hit on one of my great laments of today's theatre. Miked actors. Are we just not teaching diction and projection anymore in theatre schools? I've ranted about this at length on my blog: , under "Where did you get your training?" And while we're looking for topics, how about: Why can't actors write a proper professional programme bio anymore? They all sound like acceptance speeches for those Tonys they've yet to win."

What I think these folks are failing to realize, is that they sound eerily similar to the stodgy old curmudgeons who railed against new media and furiously claimed it would never replace print ... right. The world has changed, and it's on us to keep up. Till AMT realizes its need to catch up, I recommend reading - from what I can tell, this guy is a real hoot.

No comments: