On Your Feet!

I attended still another mediocre, self-absorbed, theatrical conceit last night, and the audience members dutifully jumped to their feet at the conclusion. The actors were certainly outstanding, with a single exception, so I’d like to think they were the ones being honored more than the production, which was an idiosyncratic bore for the entire first act.

One of the greatest declines in society has been the loss of taste. It’s as if a limited amount of class and substance have been diluted through the ever-expanding need to fill a kibillion hours of the media now extant. One feculent situation comedy with a screaming laugh tack follows another. We rave about watered-down revivals, and sequels that go on forever because no one has new ideas to replace them.

Whether a ballet, symphony, play, or speech, we have become conditioned to perform what I call the TSO: tepid standing ovation. It’s one thing to rave about a truly amateur production or your kids’ high school play—I still remember the unending dance recitals that bored me until my daughter was front and center! But according that kind of visceral overreaction to people getting paid to provide entertainment, well, that treats no one well.

The ovation has become an automatic antiphony. But what we need is a rational response.

© Alan Weiss 2016

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