This has been a big week in people being terrible at the theater. There was that guy who went to a Broadway show, realized his phone’s battery was down a few bars, and decided that a fake set outlet was the perfect place to charge it. This is one story in a year of stories about LaBeoufs being terrible, in a decade of other people being terrible… Let’s admit it, people have no idea how the fuck to behave as an audience member during a live play. But Patti Lupone— who, if you don’t know as a theatrical legend, you may know from her runs on Life Goes On, Oz, American Horror Story… I don’t know, just f*king being Patti Lupone— is refusing to tolerate your plebeian behavior.
During a performance this week of her off-Broadway play, Shows for Days, LuPone found herself performing to an audience of many, but distracted by one— specifically, one lit up phone in the hand of a supremely rude audience member. So she did what any self-respecting and and supremely ballsy performer would do— she took the phone out of that dude’s hand and held it for a time out.
As LuPone put it, and as everyone who attend the theater knows, phones are fundamentally unacceptable.
We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else — the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage.
I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshal the audience as well as perform.