Jester-in-Exile is angry, and he has every right to be. A weekend ago he watched Tanghalang Pilipino's rock musical, EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson, at the CCP. As he puts it in his recent blog, "I nearly enjoyed myself thoroughly... I said nearly, because this really wonderful play was quite nearly ruined by the idiot audience seated nearby. Why so? Simply because they had ABSOLUTELY. ZERO. THEATER. DECORUM."
Jester says he had to suffer the boorishness of clueless audience members who gabbed their way throughout the show, unmindful of the other people around them. "Going to such an event does presuppose one should be on one's best behavior and respect the theater and the rest of the audience," he laments.
So true. I've had the same experience several times, the most terrible of which was the afternoon I watched a performance of the modern zarzuela Hibik at Himagsik nina Victoria Laktaw at CCP's Little Theater.
The venue was packed with rowdy uniformed boys from San Beda High School (I asked). Obviously, they weren't briefed by their teacher about the kind of show they got dragged to. So when Arnold Reyes, Agnes Barredo and company started warbling zarzuela-type music, there was a collective groan from the audience. Pretty soon everybody was dozing off, getting fidgety or annoyed--so annoyed that I heard one boy say, just before another song, "Putangina, kakanta na naman!"
Thunderous applause greeted the end of the play--not because the boys appreciated what they saw, but because their ordeal was over. What's more mortifying, the play's librettist--National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera--was in the audience that afternoon. I wanted to bop the heads of the impertinent kids, but I thought I should reserve that punishment for the teacher who brought them to the theater without explaining to them beforehand what the show was about--or how they should behave.
Jester's got advice for those who persist in less-than-appropriate behavior inside the theater. Despite the sharp words, I couldn't agree with him more. Here, verbatim:
So, children, here's a little list of five do's and don'ts when you're watching a play.
1. Be on time. Nothing is more irritating than having an idiot move through the aisle while the play is going on. If you can't be on time, don't go at all.
2. Keep your questions to yourself. If you don't have any gray matter between the ears, try not to embarass yourself and irritate the rest of us. Ask any questions AFTER the play. ("Sino si Herakles?" Moron.)
3. Dispense with the running commentary. This is a play, not a basketball game. If you can't STFU, gag yourself with a sock and duct tape before entering the theater.
4. Do not, unless faced with immediate death or dismemberment, engage in conversation during the play. Oh, and girls, slap the fellow who's making pa-cute by asking you the time while the scenes are playing out; make the fellow realize that if he's bored, he should've just left the theater.
5. Think twice about going if you don't know how to behave in a theater. This is not a movie, you stupid morons. There are live actors going about their lines. If you are incapable of respect, go do your usual thing and jack off in your bedroom watching your collection of gay porn.
Amen to you, brother! Thanks for getting angry.
PLUS: Inquirer's Pocholo Concepcion interviews the seminal rock band The Dawn on their involvement in EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson here.
The musical, starring Ricky Davao and Jett Pangan and directed by Chris Millado, is on its last weekend this March 7, 8 and 9, 8 p.m. with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, at CCP's Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino. For tickets, call 8323661, 8323704 or 8919999, or visit www.tanghalangpilipino.com