theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
“I am angry and sad.
Just got off stage from today’s matinee and yes, something happened. Someone brought their autistic child to the theater.
That being said – this post won’t go the way you think it will.
You think I will admonish that mother for bringing a child who yelped during a quiet moment in the show. You think I will herald an audience that yelled at this mother for bringing their child to the theater. You think that I will have sympathy for my own company whose performances were disturbed from a foreign sound coming from in front of them.
No.Instead, I ask you – when did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?The theater to me has always been a way to…
Source: A Woman Brought Her Autistic Son To The Theater. How One Actor Responded Is Going Viral
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This is a very tough subject.
It is but it’s important to realise that theatre has to be inclusive. If actors can keep performing, audiences need to accept. I’ve been through a similar circumstances except that the audience was magnificent, which was more than could be said for one of my fellow actors who came right out of character and shouted at the autistic audience member. It was appalling and shocking. He was a newcomer to the business but there was no excuse for his reaction.
I agree, there was no excuse for that kind of behavior.
However, If people paid hundreds of dollars for a ticket to see a play and can’t actually hear it, then I think they have a right to feel unhappy about the situation. It’s not just about the challenged person, it’s not about being politically correct, it’s about the hundreds of people who paid to attend a play. It’s not always about the person who is disruptive, for whatever reason. Ask yourself, if you were paying several hundred dollars for a ticket to see a play but knew ahead of time that it would be disrupted again and again, would you still want to go? Often times, going to a play is a huge event for people. They may not be able to afford to go to things like that more than once a year. Everyone has rights and expectations, the theater goers, the actors, not just the person in question.
When hundreds of people go to a play, for an experience they expect to enjoy, is it right to have that experience disrupted? Why should an entire audience be expected to accept anything but what they thought they were getting? Are only certain disruptions acceptable? Doesn’t the audience have any rights? I think they do. I think the audience should be respected as well as each individual who makes it up.
It’s tough and there’s no two ways about it. Like most things in life, there needs to be a balance. If the audience member concerned proves to be too much of a disturbance, then the parent or carer needs to consider taking him or her out of the auditorium.
It doesn’t seem that hard when you think about it. If your kids/anyone makes noise, then you can’t bring them to a place that demands silence. There are rules for everything. There is no discrimination…it’s just a place of silence and noise is not allowed.
I was in the library last week and a woman was yelling on her cell phone, rocking back and forth. Another woman was yelling at her grandfather who forgot his hearing aid. Everyone just stood there staring at them. If you want to talk on the pone, or yell, take it outside, the library is a place for silence, or whispers. They disturbed everyone. At least ten people were staring at them, horrified, and we were all looking at each other in disbelief. The women yelling, didn’t care about anyone but themselves. Rules for those sites are set in place for a reason. There is a need for silence in those places and the things that go on there. That’s all anyone has to know. Everyone is free to make noise in their own house, yard, wherever, but not in movies, restaurants, plays, or libraries. That’s it. You can’t take away the rights of everyone who goes to those places, expecting silence, by disregarding those rules.
They have tours for those who have mobility problems because those who are able bodied have different needs. That doesn’t mean those who can walk don’t like the people who have difficulty walking, it means they have different goals, different needs. The needs of able bodied people should be respected and they shouldn’t have to wait and rest when they don’t have to do so, anymore than those who have difficulty moving about should be expected to climb 100 stairs or walk up steep hills.
They have plays for children, plays for teens and plays for adults. They are advertised as such, so that people can decide whether or not they wish to attend. If people want to bring differently challenged, or disruptive people to a play, the play should be performed for that segment of the population and advertised as such. That way anyone who choses to go to the performance will understand that there may be disturbances. Those who wish to see the play in silence can go at a different time. That way everyone gets what they expect and what they pay for. That way, everyone has a choice.
Perhaps I’m misunderstanding but you seem to be saying that there should be performances set aside for differently abled. That would be disastrous for audiences and actors alike. It really isn’t that simple.