Lyn Gardner on somnolent audiences

Wednesday 25th November 2009

Critic and novelist Lyn Gardner
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As Pirate Dog curls up at my feet, I read once again Lyn Gardner’s Guardian blog about people sleeping in the theatre. She makes the interesting point that while, nowadays, talking in the audience is seen as rude and disruptive, gently snoozing during a performance is somehow okay. A slight slump and a doze. Of course, the sound of snoring can be as irritating as the bright little screens of mobiles being used to txt, and it usually goes on much longer. Gardner’s piece suggests, as Peter Brook has done in the past, that part of the responsibility for boring theatre lies with the performers and with the production. If the piece is dull enough, all you can expect from the audience is zzz… One solution is younger audiences, another is uncomfortable seats. I noticed that for Mike Bartlett’s Cock, at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, the makeshift staging has hard seats with no backs. If you fall asleep in this show, you’ll not slump, but fall over.

© Aleks Sierz

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