Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Broadway year - the downs

Now that I've praised some of the amazing moments I saw on Broadway this year, I want to take a moment to mention some things that bothered me, as well as one disappointment.
  • I've written before about the couple sitting behind me at Billy Elliot who were talking so loudly when the musical began that I had to turn around and glare at them as I asked them to be quiet. It was the same thing at Shrek, the people sitting next to me were talking and unwrapping candy. Is it me or is the talking and eating during shows getting worse? It makes me a little wary of seeing the musical Rock of Ages, since Variety reports that there'll be in-seat cocktail service during the show when it moves from off-Broadway to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Maybe it fits with the story, which I guess partly takes place in a nightclub, and it'll be done in a way that won't bother non-drinking theatergoers, but I don't know.
  • I've decided that there are simply some things I don't particularly want to see or hear on stage - the farting and belching competition in Shrek may have worked in the movie but in a Broadway musical I just didn't care for it. And the urinating porter in Macbeth was one special effect I definitely could have done without. This poses a bit of a dilemma. I really want to see Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage on Broadway in the spring. (Although it'll have a different cast than the London production. Sadly, no Ralph Fiennes.) But I know there's a particular bodily function in the play which I'm not too eager to experience. Still, the Broadway cast reportedly includes James Gandolfini, and for a chance to see Tony Soprano, I'll steel myself.
  • Speaking of Macbeth, I've mentioned a few times before that I'm pretty squeamish and I knew last spring's production was a particularly bloody one. I was looking forward to seeing Patrick Stewart on Broadway but I got a little nervous when Ben Brantley compared the horror level to a Wes Craven movie in his New York Times review. Now, I've never actually seen a Wes Craven movie but it sounded ominous. Well let me tell you, it was quite a letdown. I didn't feel squeamish at all. I only took my glasses off briefly and I didn't once have to put my head between my knees to ward off fainting. Don't get me wrong, what I saw was plenty, but given the buildup, I was prepared for more blood, more guts. Thanks Ben, for getting me all worked up for nothing!


Dale said...

I have a tough time being in any audience because I'm so incredibly easy to distract. I want to be swept into the story and suspend all disbelief but that's tough to do when you end up near someone who shifts around, talks, eats and makes a nuisance of themselves.

It's becoming rarer to find myself in a section filled with people who have respect enough for the performers to not worry about themselves first and everyone else second. I've told people to be quiet many times and it usually works at least temporarily.

A couple of years ago, I went to see The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the bloodbath in the second act was like nothing I'd ever seen. It was shocking but also funny which I think tempered the fact that the entire cast and set was dripping in the red stuff. I wonder how you'd have reacted?

Vance said...

Yah, last night the couple beside me at WSS (yes, again. hehe) apparently wanted to reenact the whole show on their own and basically made out for most of the show. I was annoyed but I think the lady behind them was about to deck them by the end. Somehow ironic for WWS no? (And even more? They spoke Spanish)

But people. Theatre is not the cinemas so keep the heavy petting on stage and not in the seats please!

Esther said...

Hey Dale,
I don't know why, but for some reason I felt more bothered this time by the talking, etc. Maybe people are getting bolder. I think they don't realize that even though they "think" they're talking softly, I can still hear them! Or maybe, sadly, they don't care. :-(

I've heard of the Lieutenant of Inishmore. I don't think it's something I would like. Although it could be that theater blood doesn't affect me as much as movie blood because I really was ok during Macbeth - except for a brief moment when Lady Macbeth comes out drenched in red. It's not quite as larger than life and in your face. Perhaps the part of my brain responsible for squeamishness could tell that it was fake!

Esther said...

I totally agree. At the risk of sounding like the old fart that I'm rapidly becoming, I think people don't have any sense of shame anymore, any sense of the proper way to behave in public so that they don't bother other people. That couple should have simply gotten a hotel room and dispensed with the show!