Beyond the Bravo - The Importance of an Engaging Crowd

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Nobody ever wants teens to be loud or take up space. But what if there was a place that wasn’t true?

When you were young and you went to the theater, stuffy old adults told you to be quiet and sit still and pay attention -- after all, that was what they were told, and to them, that’s how you express respect for the show. This can make going to the theater a very daunting and unwelcoming environment for teens, not to mention mind-numbingly boring. Nothing kills a show more than dead silence.

Turns out, that’s how the actors feel as well! Actors want people to cheer and shout and clap and be loud; to them, that’s really they can tell someone enjoys the show, not silent approving nods in the darkness.

When I went to see The Winter’s Tale at Antaeus Theatre Company with a group of my friends, we had all previously been in a production of it, so we knew what to expect. We howled with laughter, we sang along to the songs, we booed the antagonistic characters, and we clapped and roared until our throats and hands were raw. The cast adored it. They came out from backstage invigorated, telling us how wonderful of an audience we were and how appreciated they felt.

It made me realize that no one wants a theater to be quiet (except maybe grumpy old men). The highest sign of respect you can pay to an actor is to express your feelings, and do it loud and proud! They put so much work into their comedy routines, musicals, and plays, that a teen laughing at a joke they likely spent weeks practicing is more precious than a double rainbow.

Of course, this is not to endorse any kind of disruptive behavior. Disrespecting the theater you’re at, talking loudly with your friends, or heckling actors that are working very hard to make you smile is just plain rude. Besides, why bother going to a show just to be an unkind audience? It seems a waste of time and money, if you ask me -- not to mention way less enjoyable than the actual show being performed.

So next time you grab your TeenTix Pass and see a show, laugh if something’s funny. Cry if it breaks your heart, and clap so hard your hands hurt. And if that cranky couple gives you a stink eye? Just cheer louder.


Cyrus Rose is a TeenTix LA Intern.

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