I’ve been watching you from high above. That’s right, up in the clouds, through the heavens — of Cohen Auditorium. This week, I spent my time running back and forth between the stage as an assistant sound designer for Tufts’ spring musical, Into the Woods. The soundboard was located just above the audience in the upstairs balcony seating area. From my lofty post, I watched you all carefully and have come to the conclusion that y’all are some goofy goons.
Firstly, I must address the polemic of toting children along to theatrical performances. As I personally have elected to selectively ignore the notion of my existence prior to the age of 18, it might be obvious what my opinion on this matter is. But I’ll be fair and assess this objectively with some observations. My friend recounted that she sat behind a mother and her small son, probably about four or five years old, on Saturday night show. Whenever the phenomenal Witch appeared on stage or the big bangs welcoming the arrival of the Giant were cued, he made sure to grab his mother and confirm that her well being had not been crushed by fear. This adorable anecdote sways the pendulum in favor of allowing children to attend these longer, more mature types of performances. He was clearly engaged and responsive to the show’s plot line.
Alas, for every one of these kiddos comes five bip-bopping boogers who will bawl at every chance they find. Everyone knows the feeling of being confined with crying children in spaces such as airplanes or the theater and the associated nuisance. But when regarding theater technology, an upset child can be detrimental. One of my sound cues during the show was synchronizing the Baker’s newborn with a recording of a crying infant. You can maybe guess where the problem arose, as I had no idea who was actually crying when. Was it the sound? Was it a human? I solved the problem by just starting to cry myself.
Another type of audience member is the over-enthusiastic viewer. Now, one must understand the nuance of appropriately appreciating a show as opposed to completely losing it at any line that may come across as humorous. As our show was a comedy, there are certainly many points at which roaring laughter are expected, such as the Witch realizing the loss of her powers and corny puns recounted by the Narrator. But honestly, every line of dialogue was not some masterpiece crafted by Louis C.K. like some audience members thought. This overzealous type catalyzes a certain type of sociological experiment, in my opinion, where everyone else in the audience is rendered self-conscious that they didn’t find the same material funny. One obnoxious giggler and before you know it the entire audience is laughing at some arbitrary scene about Bulgarian shaman prancing around parsnip patches. That line does not exist in Into the Woods, but it certainly did in my dream last night. Help me.
Lastly are the audience members who cannot commit to watching the entire show and leave early. I strongly believe that unless there is an emergency or absolutely necessary cause to depart, one should be able to view the entire show. It’s equivalent to watching the first half of an excellent movie and then ruining the opportunity to ever watch it again. I think this problem has arisen from the modern condition’s exacerbation of commitment issues. And yes, I have had troubles trusting anyone originating from my childhood ever since Steve left Blue’s Clues (1996-2006). But I’ve persevered, and I make an effort to sit through every performance I attend. So glue your bum down and watch the show, biddies.
(Crying baby sound),