Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Standing Ovation

Have I ranted to you yet about how much I despise standing ovations? I hate that every travelling Broadway performance at the Jubilee gets one. I have that opening nights apparently have a mandatory ovation. But most of all, I hate the expectation that once 51% percent of the crowd is on their feet everyone else will follow.

I stand for great theatre. Now, I won't lie, I have stood for those travelling big box shows because otherwise I'm sitting down all alone and can't even see the people on stage I'm clapping for. But I do not stand for anything else unless it actually compels me to leap to my feet once the show is done. Which means that I've given about 5 genuine standing ovations in my life.

We went to see I, Claudia at ATP last week and it was a good little show. It's been travelling already for three years so it was polished. It was also a one-woman show, with mask work (high ovation potential). It was good, maybe even great, but it wasn't fantastic. I enjoyed it, I would recommend it, I did not stand for it. About half the audience got to their feet sluggishly and patchily at the end (a sure sign of an obligation ovation).

As we were walking out, the chatty Cathys who have subscription ticket seats behind ours were commenting about how Mr. Rose and I obviously didn't like the show very much. In a slightly disparaging way. I almost, ALMOST, turned around to inform them of my standing ovation philosophy and the ask them why they have ruined the power of the ovation for the rest of us(and ask them to, for the love of god, please be quiet during the play. yes, even when there is a scene transition. I do not care how many schools Sarah is applying to this year. Intermissions are for your chatting!! (shut up, shut up, shut up).

Is this really the place we have come to? If you don't stand, you don't like it? And why are you taking away the thing that says not just 'I liked it' but 'I loved it'.

So, I'm looking for suggestions. The sheep have taken away my ovation so I need to replace it with something else. I was thinking of bringing back that Aresenio Hall 'woof, woof' arm movement. I'm not sure how that will go over at some of the classier joints in town though. Any thoughts?


Lady Buttons said...

I say good on ya for holding ground and not giving in to the standing ovation. If you're not feelin' it, you're not feelin' it, case closed. I also applaud (pardon the obvious pun here) your restraint in not giving the CCs a piece of your mind -- I'm not sure I could've done the same! The Arsenio Hall woofwoof would be appropriate, or perhaps a good ole rock n' roll sign o' the horns, or a Vulcan salute? :)

Lady Rose said...

ooooo...sign o' the horns is good. You could do that with some real panache.

Mr. Rose gets uncomfortable when I accost random strangers for rudeness. He embarasses easily and is afraid that I might get him beat up one day. He might be right. Though I think I could have taken those CC's.

Meg said...

I get the guilty eyes from Gary. He's all about the Standing O peer pressure, but I won't cave.

If a show doesn't make me immediately and spontaneously leap to my feet cheering, possibly crying- then I'm staying seated, thanks.

It's like faking an orgasm. It sets such unrealistic expectations for next time.

Wayne C. said...

This happens all the time in Ottawa. I don't stand up for a show I think is unworthy. I've kind of accepted the fact that most others don't feel the same way or have much lower standards :)

Sterling Lynch said...

Ah the obligatory standing-O. I see so many people give them for such mediocre work that it would really mean nothing to me if I received one.

I think the reason people give them is because they want to believe they have been at a great show. Standing up at the end, helps nurture that feeling.

I can imagine this being especially true for big ticket shows. Who wants to drop a couple hundred bucks on tickets and walk out saying, ah well, it was OK. Anything that whiffs of decency will be characterized as a triumph!