There has been an ongoing discussion on blogs and in the papers about bad audience behavior.
But what if the ushers are also behaving badly? Perhaps ushers are encouraging audiences to behave badly.
At one particular show in Chicago, which I will not name, there were two ushers that were texting during the show. Two! Now, think about the message that this sends out to the audience.
“Wow, if the ushers here are texting, I guess it must be okay.”
The ushers should be the people setting the example at a theater and if they’re texting, the audience will probably follow suit. On top of that, if an usher is busy texting someone, they’ll probably be too busy to curb bad behavior in the theater. (At the show I just finished up ushering on, I eventually had to stand up and walk up and down the aisle because so many people were texting.)
You’d like to think that ushers, of all people would be behaving well; representing a theater well. Depending on how quiet a theater is, you can hear someone texting. What sort of message does the audience take away about the theater. “Wow, the show was great, but the ushers were texting”?
At this same play, an usher was sitting out in the lobby, during the show, checking to see that people didn’t wander in. As people left the show, she said, “Did it offend you?”
My problem with that is that it’s almost as though she was saying, “How dare you leave the show if it offended you” or “You should only be leaving if it offended you.” That sort of behavior makes me not want to go to back to that theater.
So, I have a new theory about bad audience behavior: What if the audiences are behaving badly because the ushers are behaving just as badly? What if this is just a monkey see, monkey do situation?