When going to any public place, it is very important to have good manners and be respectful of others and the space you are in, but it is even more imperative when you go to the theatre. It's not very difficult to be polite in the theatre, but many people just don't understand the expectations. It is not the same as going to the movies or a Justin Timberlake concert. Here are some things that people do in a live performance theatre that are very rude and drive all those involved with the show absolutely crazy.
1. Using your phone during the performance
Yes, we can see you. Actors, techies, the director— EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU. You're not being slick about it, and it's so rude! Think about how many hours the entire cast and crew have put into this show you're seeing. If that doesn't get you to stop, think about the money you paid for your ticket and pay attention to that! Instagram will still be there after the show.
2. Leaving in the middle of an act to go to the bathroom
Please, just go to the bathroom before the show, at intermission and right after. There is never a time that you won't miss something going on in the play, and the actors can see you leaving. It's super distracting as an actor to hear and see doors opening and closing in the theatre during the middle of your dramatic monologue about your dying mother. Plus, all the other audience members in your row want to watch the performance, not your shimmy to get out of the aisle.
3. Talking incessantly during the show
For the love of God, debrief with your fellow theatre-goers after the show is over. You'll have more to talk about when you have all the information about the whole show. Discuss on the car ride home, not in the middle of Act I.
4. Putting your feet on the seats in front of you
It's so easy not to do this, but people insist on doing it anyway! It's not even that comfortable! Just don't!
5. Eating or drinking in the theatre
We all see and hear you crunching on chips. Odds are, if you're eating or drinking, you'll make a mess or leave your trash. Plus when you're slurping your empty drink, it's loud and distracting.
6. Slouching down in your seat
It's a small thing that makes a big difference. People can see you, and they see you giving the body language that you'd rather be anywhere else!
7. Leaving before the show is over
This is literally horrible because everyone around you sees what you are doing. Unless there is an emergency, you should never leave in the middle of a show. Even leaving at intermission is bad. Just stay for what you committed to!
Most of these rules are simply common sense, but now that they're pointed out to you, please follow them. Think about those around you the next time you are seeing a performance, and please listen to the announcement about turning off your phones and being quiet! Everyone will appreciate it.