Recently, I took part in a commercial theater production which performed on the Arts Festival taking place at Al-Hamra Arts Council, Lahore. Overall, it was an amazing experience (as all plays usually are) but there are a few things which disturbed me more than I would have cared to admit but here I am about to discuss them.
Commercial theater productions usually involve actors from age groups ranging from as young as a baby to as old as one can be. Basically, we have a very diverse cast. And with a diverse cast come certain unspoken rules and regulations that we all should observe no matter what. The first and foremost would be:
Using vulgarity in front of children
Listen now and listen well. Sure, vulgarity and swear words help in expressing your anger or venting the tension and stress out but make sure when you do such a thing no kids are around. They are not meant to be exposed to this stuff so early on. Do not influence them to use swear words to express their anger as well. Their tantrums are already too much to bear. Vulgarity will only add to more embarrassment and work.
Secondly, please do not smoke in front of or around children
I know. If you are a smoker you have the greatest of urges to smoke in times of distress and after you drink chai and etc. etc. (so many triggers exist). Anyhow, the main point here is that not to smoke in front of or around children. One, mainly because when you are smoking around them you expose them to passive smoking which is just a big disaster and you should feel ashamed for not even having such a low level of empathy to not expose them to such carcinogens and risks. Second, when you smoke in front of them you are unconsciously influencing them to come under the impression that smoking helps in times of distress and they will get influenced to, if not become chain smokers, at least try it out. Even small actions can have big consequences. Please remember that.
Audience member, listen here
We as actors appreciate all the hooting, clapping and enthusiastic whistling and laughter you produce but please keep in mind that commercial productions sometimes have first-time actors and it’s extremely hard for them to recompose themselves. SO if you feel that someone has forgotten their lines, or the play is getting a bit drag rather than jeering at whom you blame or just snorting in boredom, try to be a bit motivating to the actors by shouting stuff like, “We know you can do it!” or such comforting stuff.
Also if you guys are late to a play that you SO wanted to see. Please. Please. Please. Lightly, knock on the door and ask to come inside. Do not make a racket while coming inside and disturbing the flow of the play. It not only ruins the performance for the audience but ruins the mood for the actors as well. This is a stage play, not a movie that the actors won’t be affected. Please keep that in mind.
During my play, these are the 4 major issues that I felt that something that needed to be discussed and so I had to think deep and hard about how to tackle them.
Please bear them in mind so that both of us, those viewing the play and those performing the play can have the best experience possible.