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Through smarter shows are debuting onstage, arguably dumber theatergoers are attending them.
This season, Keira Knightley got a marriage proposal from a devout stalker, Mark Strong paused A View From the Bridge when someone fainted at the sight of a shirtless actor, Hand to God was interrupted when a drunk theatergoer tried to use an onstage outlet, and Patti LuPone snatched a person's phone from their hands after watching the ticketholder text through Shows for Days. She told THR afterward that such bad behavior has her questioning her future in the theater: "I'm defeated by this. It's not changing, it's only getting worse, and it's not worth it anymore. I'm heartbroken. If something isn't done, I will think twice before I get back on a stage again."
Who's to blame? "The theater is a mutual experience in which everybody is there in one place and at one time, and it will never happen again — it's about being respectful of all the work that has gone into something," Judith Light tells THR. "I think the real truth of it is, a lot of people don't know what theater etiquette actually is. Maybe that's our responsibility, to put something together. I find that when you give people the information, they will abide by it."
Stage actors, your prayers have been answered. THR presents a beginner's guide to theater etiquette, according to its stars.
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Melvin Van Peebles