Why You Should Not Be Giving A Standing Ovation At The Theatre

Standing Ovations At The TheatreWhen I go to see live theatre, I want to know nothing about it before I enter. I don’t read reviews, I don’t read casting information and I don’t read leaked excitement. I want to know nothing. When the lights go down and the curtain goes up, I want to enter a brand new world and have a unique experience all my own. Granted, that experience is in a large room with hundreds of other people, but going to the theatre is truly a distinctive experience. You bring your history, your tastes and your unique perspective. You are going to see a show that will affect you differently from anyone else purely because you are you.

At the end of most productions, the cast comes out on stage and the audience claps. In typical fashion, the more fun or more principal a role, the louder the clapping gets for that actor – and that is fitting. If you love a performance, you should cheer for it! Somehow though, in the last 20 years it has become commonplace to give a standing ovation for every single show performed. It is so much so that a cast can tell that an audience didn’t particularly like a performance purely because they didn’t stand up. My question is – what happened to the “in between?” What happened to watching a show that you enjoyed, clapping loudly, hooting a bit and then exiting the theatre in smiles? Why must audiences always give a standing ovation to let everyone know that they enjoyed the show? It kind of leaves you wondering what you’re now supposed to do for those productions that truly knocked your socks off. At least, it leaves me wondering…

So I implore you – consider the shows that you are standing for! In the same way that chocolate loses it’s excitement when you eat it every day (bad example?), consider that you are removing the meaning of the standing ovation when you give one for each and every show. Save your ovation for those productions that change your world. The ones that give you goosebumps. The ones that touch your soul. And whether your fellow audience members are aware of it or not, you will know that when you are moved to get up on your feet at the end of a production, you truly couldn’t stay seated.

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Why You Should Not Be Giving A Standing Ovation At The Theatre
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Why You Should Not Be Giving A Standing Ovation At The Theatre
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Have you ever wondered why every show receives a standing ovation - good or not? Let's talk about why you should not be giving a standing ovation!
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