Will the real ovation please stand up?


It’s not quite that bad in San Francisco yet, although there seem to be audiences where its a mix. What’s driving me crazy here is the audiences that applaud after every scene. But not every theatre here is this way. No wonder my last few plays have no scene breaks.

wax and wane

I’d like to take this time to ponder something that might offend some of you, while others will applaud from their seats. I’m stuck on what has developed into the inevitability of the standing ovation.

A standing “o” used to be special; reserved for the outstanding performance. This once emotional and passionate show of appreciation has somehow turned into a reflex ­‑ a quixotic gesture that now means about as much as a polite handshake. What happened?

I first noticed the phenomenon when I moved from Chicago to the Northwest. An avid theater and concert goer, I began to notice the tendency of folks to spring to their feet at a curtain call, even if the performance wasn’t worthy. By the time I moved to Whidbey Island and jumped back onstage into the theater game, and found myself attending double-digit numbers of performances each month for my work, I realized the ovation…

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