Actor Speaks In Tongues

London, Observatory

Ian Hart
Ian Hart, who is appearing in the West End play ‘Speaking In Tongues’, left the stage and shouted at an overenthusiastic member of the audience last night. It’s something no actor ever does in London, no matter how bad it gets. Now the audience member is threatening to sue for damages because he was made to feel frightened. What I find incredible about this story is that the response on the Times website is entirely on the side of the audience member, and complains about the egos of actors. But if anyone has been to the theatre lately and sat next to the eating, drinking, chatting, texting, ADD-afflicted dopes who behave as if they’re watching television, I’d want to jump from the stage and shut them up too. Worst of all are those who can’t tell a good show from a bad one and applaud automatically, just because they’re excited to be out for the evening. New York theatres are extraordinary for the way in which everyone jumps to their feet at the slightest provocation. More discernment, less reaction might be a rule to follow?

2 comments on “Actor Speaks In Tongues”

  1. Steve says:

    That’s a shame. My experience of London audiences has been that they’re much more discerning than those in the US. We saw Matt Damon’s last performance in “This is our Youth” (I believe that was the name) several years ago in London. In the US, people would have automatically applauded simply because he was Matt Damon. Stupid, really – he was actually bloody awful. Anyway it’s sad to hear that London Theatre has become so……modern.
    As for wanting to rip the faces off of idiots in the audience – been there, done that. Threw my guitar at one many years ago.
    Of course, breaking character when one is acting is a great taboo, so I can see both sides.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Both sides be dashed! The actors have invested time and probably considerable sweat in producing their performance. The audience has invested the price of the ticket and the effort to be at the theatre (on time, one hopes.)We are not in Tudor London when the actors expected harassment from the audience. Boo at the end of an act or the performance if you’re disgusted; walk out if you must (I watched several people walk out from a performance of ‘Harvey’ and still don’t know why they did) but don’t rile the actors during the scene. The performance won’t improve under those conditions. The opposite is true, also. Vancouver has a rather well deserved reputation for giving standing ovations to anything that is completed without anyone falling unintentionally into a kettle drum or having to have lines shouted at them. It has improved lately. Courtesy, consideration and a modicum of judgment, I think.

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