We’re in the middle of a drenching, heavy rain. It’s been going on all night and this morning was one of those mornings when, despite it being 7:30, the darkness of the sky made it seem as if it was the middle of the night. We really need the rain. It’s been very dry here for quite a while. The rivers are down, plants are wilting, and there are brown patches in the grass. I’m not complaining, as I know what we’re temporarily going through is nothing like the drought out west. Nevertheless, it’s really good to see a steady and heavy rain.
My gardens thank you. And I thank you, as I get a break from hand watering everything.
Have you been reading about Benedict Cumberbatch? He’s doing Hamlet in London – a sold-out run – and they’ve just started previews. He actually had to go outside and explain to theatergoers why they shouldn’t be texting, filming, and/or doing anything with their cell phones during the performance. And a few weeks back, Patti Lupone had to stop a performance to admonish an audience member about the same sort of thing. I applaud them for taking a stand. I am saddened that it’s become a pervasive issue in the theater. I hear about it all the time. I’ve witnessed it.
What have we come to? I cannot tell you how many times I have been watching a performance of a play I’m working on, only to see the glow coming from the screen of a cell phone, while audience members check their email or their text messages. I am ruthless about that sort of thing and I will get up from my seat, go down the aisle, and explain that actors can SEE that. They see the glow of a screen. They see any sort of light emanating from the audience. They find it distracting. And it’s RUDE. Hell, if I see it from my vantage point at the back of the house, of course the actors can see it. People think they’re artfully concealing the whole thing, but they’re not. Or, they simply don’t care because they are tethered to their cell phones and cannot stop.
If that is the case, I beg of you, don’t go to the theater. Don’t go to any live event where the performers are acting or singing or playing their hearts out for you. When you pull out your phone, even for a millisecond, you are disconnecting from the live experience. You are losing the thread. You are saying that your little life that is encapsulated in the tiny screen of your cell phone is more important than a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical performance. A performance, by the way, that you paid a hefty sum to see.
Oh, and by the way, don’t do it in a movie theater, either. Because, if I’m sitting there and can see it, I become distracted. I get angry. And then I have to ask you to turn off your phone. Or, better yet, get an usher to make the request. Edited to add: Please read Martha’s comment and her note of caution as to directly confronting someone, especially in what might be a dicey situation.
I know I’m speaking to the choir here, so the ‘you’ I mention is that ‘you’ that seems completely oblivious to the whole thing, the ‘you’ that is in his/her own little cellular world.
There is a huge and ever widening group of people who are addicted to their phones. It’s as if a cellphone has suddenly come to symbolize a full, rich life. A falsehood, to be sure, but one that a lot of people buy into.
I love the convenience of my smart phone and, being on the road rather frequently, I need it. So I am not one to rant about cellphones in general. I need one. But I am not tethered to it. I shut it off when I’m in rehearsal. I shut it off when I’m in a theater or a concert hall. Heck, half the time, I forget to turn it on when I’m not on the road.
What I’m really talking about is etiquette. There is a time and a place for checking your messages, for making a call, for taking pictures, or shooting a video. That place is not during a performance. It’s rude. It’s disrespectful. And in the case of video and photos, it’s illegal.
Okay. I am now stepping off the soapbox.
But, I have to tell you, this kind of thing can really set me off. And it seems to be getting worse all the time.
The hollyhocks – check out the blossom to the left. What do you see?
If you answered a spider, you’re right. He’s been hanging around that flower for a couple of days.
Oh, and Don saw Henry/Henrietta yesterday. Sightings are rare these days, however.