As the traditional performing arts season in Manhattan gets going, the New York Times ran two interesting articles today on best practices for walking out of a show, live or at the movies. It was partnered with what to expect when arriving late.
Apparently balletomane Princess Margaret arrived on time to regular performances, but specialized in holding up the curtain on gala nights up to 30 minutes, reports Alastair Macaulay in “The Delayed: To Sit or Not to Sit.” This happens often on gala nights in NYC as well, he says.
For people who miss curtain, the Metropolitan Opera has a room with tiered seating, a large-screen TV and superb sound. That’s where latecomers to the met Opera sit until intermission. But not for latecomers to American Ballet Theatre performances in the same space. They get seated, much to the consternation of the folks they disturb getting to their seats, which always seem to be in the middle of the row down front.
In the companion piece “The Dissatisfied, To Leave or Not to Leave,” Williams Grimes tackles people who leave the theater during a show and why: not only those who wait to intermission but those who don’t. He also includes movie houses, which I say is fine to leave whenever, especially these days when the seats are like Barcaloungers with plenty of room between rows.
And if your theater/ballet/opera tkts are in the aisle and you can get our quietly at a moment during the show that seems appropriate — I say go for it.
I recently spent an agonizing first act in the theater because the seats were so close I couldn’t stretch out my leg and the pain in my knee from a recent operation was killing me. It was the longest hour of my life, but I was four seats in with people behind me in a small theater. That was my choice — good or bad.
But anyone who is in the kind of physical distress — such as thinking you might vomit — should go. Fast. Nobody wants to deal with that. We don’t need to talk about heart attacks, right?
But the projection of the image of a giant penis during Will Ferrell’s performance “You’re Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush” apparently sent droves of people up the aisle.
What makes you leave during a performance?