Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Hills Are Definitely Alive!

I had planned on regaling you all this morning with a solid review of the wondrous Toronto production of  The Sound of Music. I had planned on acknowledging my reality-show bias and skepticism, and sheepishly admitting my error. The young woman who was chosen by the votes of the country to play Maria is radiant, with a voice that can only be described as phenomenal. (She is SO young, but the age difference between her and her "Captain", and her and the children is realistic to the real-life Maria.) The staging is brilliant and the children were terrific. My only complaint was with the young actress portraying Liesl, the eldest daughter. She is obviously at least 10 years older than her "16 going on 17" character and she looked older than Maria. It also played havoc with the age difference between her and the young boy (maybe age 14) playing the oldest brother. She could have been his mother! Yes, I had planned on giving you a full review, complete with some Sound of Music trivia, but I have been sidelined by a necessary rant on theatre-going etiquette. (Ok. If you continue to the end of this post you will find some SofM trivia. Cheap prize to the first in with all of the correct answers. By the way-GOOGLING IS CHEATING!!!!)

As I have previously stated, I absolutely love going to the theatre. There is something thrilling and magical about the entire experience. The sets, the costumes, the orchestra, the live performance-I love it all. But, there are times when I truly wish that I could have this experience without the rest of the audience. When did theatre goers forget their manners? When did it occur, that payment for a ticket gave one a license for rudeness? I thought that I had seen it all, but apparently I was mistaken. PEOPLE!! We have obligations as an audience. We have etiquette that needs to be observed. Hence, I offer a short list of dos and don'ts for the average theatre goer. 

  • Do come on time. There is nothing worse than interrupting the performers on stage and the audience members around you with your inability to read a clock. Traffic is terrible and food at a restaurant can sometimes be delayed, so give yourself extra time. If I have to stand in the middle of a song one more time to allow a boorish latecomer to pass to a seat, I may commit an illegal act.
  • Do turn off your cell phone! What? You think that all of those announcements at the beginning of the play are for everybody except you? If you simply cannot afford to miss that important call or simply cannot be out of contact with your babysitter, then my suggestion is that you simply don't come! I paid a pretty penny to watch the play, not listen to your telephone conversation. Several years ago I was in New York on a Broadway weekend and I had the good fortune to nab tickets to Golda's Balcony, an incredible one-woman show starring Tovah Feldshuh. In the middle of Golda debating the pros and cons of the Yom Kippur war, some asshole's phone rang. Ms Feldshuh, being the true professional that she is, stopped in the middle of her monologue, put her head on the table and waited a good five minutes until the dick in the audience switched off his ringer. It was incredible to watch, and once she had collected her thoughts, she once again returned to the character. Cell phones and live theatre do not mix!
  • Do show your appreciation with laughter and applause, but please don't sing along with the actors on stage. I get it. I know all of the lyrics too, but I paid to hear the professionals, not you. When Maria breaks into her chorus of Do-Re-Mi, please refrain from exercising your vocal abilities.
  • Do bring your children. I love watching the faces of young people totally enthralled by their first big theatre experience. The theatre needs new blood and cannot survive if we don't teach our kids. That said, children need to understand that they are not in a movie theatre. There isn't any popcorn, it is inappropriate to put their feet on the seats in front of them, and that talking is a huge no-no.
  • Do dress appropriately. I realize that we live in a casual world and that people simply do not dress-up anymore, but the theatre is an outing. Would it really kill you to not wear the jeans with the holes in the crotch or the hooker outfit bought in the Frederick's of Hollywood catalogue?

  • Don't wear cologne or perfume, no matter how much you like it or how expensive it might be. Last evening the woman next to me bathed in her bottle of Calvin's latest. I fanned myself with my program so often to attempt to dissipate the stench, that she must of thought that I was having a hot flash. I had an asthma attack in the middle of one of the Mother Abbesses speeches. OY! 
  • Don't eat garlic, onions or fish directly before coming in. We are all in very close quarters and I really don't need to guess what you ate for dinner by smell.
  • Don't bring your leftover cocktail into the theatre with you. My smelly seat mate also found it necessary to slurp her glass of red wine during the performance-both acts!! 
  • Don't unwrap your candies and lozenges during the performance. That little exercise can safely be handled before the lights dim.
  • Don't carry on your personal conversations during the show. The mother and daughter sitting directly behind us were in the middle of a typical teenage angst argument concerning piercings and tattoos. I had no choice but to listen to this obnoxious 15 year old lecture her mother about what an old-fart she is. This "bitch in training" was loud, profane and wholly undeserving of the more than $100 that her mom had spent on her for the evening. Shut up and leave the personal dramas at home.
I feel better now. Thank you for indulging me my little rant. If you have occasion to visit the Toronto area, or you have the good fortune to live here, go see this show. It is well worth the bucks!

Some SofM trivia to liven up your Wednesday. Take special care to note whether I am talking about the stage play or the movie. Good Luck all.

  1. Mary Martin played the original Maria on Broadway. She was 46 at the time. How old was the actual Maria when she married Captain Von Trapp?
  2. What does Marta want for her 7th birthday?
  3. Oscar Hammerstein II died before the film went into production. As a result, 2 songs that were added for the film were composed entirely by Richard Rodgers. What were they? (By the way-both of these songs have now been added to play!)
  4. What do Lesley-Anne Warren, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sharon Tate and Kim Darby all have in common?
  5. The movie features a rare on-camera performance by Marni Nixon as Sister Sophia. Ms. Nixon was better known as the behind the scenes singing voice of many a famous actress. Name 3 movie musical roles that Marni Nixon dubbed!
  6. Who played the Captain in the original Broadway production?
  7. The entire children's cast was nominated for a Tony award. Which award were they nominated for?
  8. Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta in the movie, had to miss the final episode of her TV show that year in order to make the filming. What was that classic show?
  9. How old are the Von Trapp children? (Remember there are 7 of them!)
  10. Julie Andrews nearly turned down the role of Maria. Why?
I realize that these are tough, but did you honestly think I was going to ask you about My Favourite Things? Enjoy, and remember first with all correct answers wins a CHEAP prize.

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