TBA 05- The dancers stood on a set of black stairs they had painstakingly constructed themselves from a grid of moveable pillars. Earlier in the performance the pillars had constricted them, causing tense, tight patterns of movement. But as the music that once drove them faded out- a series of boom boxes clicking off in succession, the members of the string quartet wandering off into the wings- the two dancers proceeded slowly up the steps into a distant light bleeding onto the stage. The audience held its breath, my companion wept quietly. Suddenly, two rows ahead of me, a cell phone began to play a high-pitched pop tune, resounding against the dead quiet of the theatre. An audience which moments before had been completely immersed and enthralled was at once jarred into confusion and exasperation by the ugly electronic jangle. The disappointment and frustration was palpable as the perpetrator fumbled to shut off her phone. A minute later, in a moment that should have been silent and exquisite, the performance of Wally Cardona Quartet’s Everywhere ended in shock and anger.
I am an advocate for the public shaming of inconsiderate and irresponsible cell phone users. In my opinion, it may be the only way to get people to remember to turn the damn things off when entering a theater- an act that should be automatic. I don’t want to sound like some kind of neo-Ludite (and perhaps it’s too late for that) but there should be some measure of sanity here.
I know that most audience members are considerate, intelligent, well-mannered people. I also know that the excitement and anticipation of watching a puppet pirate rock opera might make one forget the little electronic beastie in their pocket. I ask here, for the sake of us all- Please turn off the cell when you hit your seat, if not before you even get to it. It may be the only way to avoid the shame and emberassment of a TBA faux pas.
Posted by P.A. Coleman