Where's the Manners?

Sherrill Fulghum By Sherrill Fulghum, 1st Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

There appears to be an epidemic of bad etiquette when it comes to mobile devices and live performances.

It's Live not Memorex!

Technology is a wonderful thing...when it is used with respect and decorum.

Unfortunately not all of the me generation has learned either one.

It seems that everywhere you go people are looking down at their phones texting, playing games, checking social media, and sometimes just talking on their phones. Gone are the days when people sat at a table and had a nice dinner and chatted.

There was a time when people attended the theater and persons who were on call – like physicians – put their beepers on vibrate and enjoyed the show hoping that no one would require their services before the show was over.

These days it seems that there are some people attending the theater who think that even stage props are there for nothing more than their personal convenience. While attending the play “Hand to God” one man felt the urgent need to recharge his device and hopped up on the stage – a big no no – and helped himself to the electrical outlet. The outlet was not real, but a part of the stage setting.

As it turns out the guilty party was 19 years old and felt his need for a recharged battery, so he answer phone calls from girls, was more important than minding his manners. Not only that; the uncouth lad again took it upon himself to use something without permission when he tried to plug the phone into the USB port on a television at a local establishment. Escorted out by security and yelled at by a manager in the same night, and he thinks it's all funny...and he's lapping up his q5 minutes of internet fame to boot!

After the outlet affair, “Hand to God” set designer Beosulf Boritt said, “does this give me a new standard? It'll keep me from ever putting a toilet on stage.”

The news is reporting stories on a more frequent basis about stars interrupting their own performances to chastise patrons for using the phone during a show...and in some cases actually taking the phone away from the user.

Tony Award winning actress Patti LuPone not only took a theater goer's phone away from them while they were texting; she walked away with the phone. This most recent incident is not a first for LuPone who has on several occasions berated an audience member for breaching proper etiquette.

A woman sitting near the stage at the front of the auditorium was talking on her phone during a Paul Anka concert and the singer took the phone out of her hand and began talking to the person at the other end. The woman later had the nerve to call Anka “rude”. Seriously????

Do people honestly believe that they are THAT important?

Talking, texting and the like during a theatrical or music performance is beyond rude. Not only is it very disturbing for the performers – especially if the person is near the stage -; but it is disturbing to those around you – the constant flashing of the lights, the talking, etc. Like a flashbulb in the face, the flashing light of the phone is very distracting and can even be dangerous. What do you suppose would happened when a light flashed in the face of a performer who was a bout to walk down a step?

And why is it that the biggest abuser of the phone's many uses is sitting in the FRONT ROW????

And all of these breaches of basic manners occurs after numerous announcements to turn off the phone, no flash photography (if photography is allowed at all), and especially no video taping; yet, the room is filled with people doing exactly what they were told NOT to do.


Broadway, Cell Phones, Mobile Phones, Patti Lupone, Phoe Etiquette, Phones In Theater, Smart Phones

Meet the author

author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
Sherrill is an award winning journalist with a speciality in music and entertainment. She is also a photographer.

Sherril is a writer for thedailyvoice news.com

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author avatar peachpurple
1st Aug 2015 (#)

Not only that, it is rude to answer the phone when visiting the doctor, in the court room, in a cinema

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
1st Aug 2015 (#)

There's a coffee shop here that has a sign that says, "if you are on the phone, you are on your own."

And don't you just love it when the people on the phone are so loud everybody can hear the conversation? (she says sarcasticly.)

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
1st Aug 2015 (#)

Dear Sherrill,
I absolutely loved this piece! I believe, however, that there is "(an) epidemic of bad etiquette." Period. One exampkle: people now do this thing called, "ghosting," which is instead of saying goodbye, they just get up and leave. It might be considered OK if there is a large assembly and saying goodbye to a speaker might cause an interruption (assuming you do not know the speaker that well), but people are now doing it the first time there is a lull in a conversation. If you are hurried, at least say, "Sorry, gotta go." It all goes back to how one was raised.

Thank you,

Lyonel (aka L. R.)

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
2nd Aug 2015 (#)

There are some cultures who do not say good bye, I know the Cree Nation is one.
But you are right, there is a gross lack of basic home training these days.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
1st Aug 2015 (#)

There are many weird people in this world. What else can one comment on this lack of manners?

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
2nd Aug 2015 (#)

As a member of the media, I am obliged to follow whatever rules are placed at any establishment; but there has been more than one occasion where the media was told no photos, but everybody else in the house was taking them.

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author avatar Retired
5th Aug 2015 (#)

This sort of behaviour will; eventually kill live entertainment - nobody will want to go to a show if their enjoyment is ruined by other people who are so antisocial.

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