Sunday, May 27, 2007

Turn off those cellphones. Or we will maim you.

Posted by Patrick Sharbaugh on Sun, May 27, 2007 at 10:56 AM

For a brief moment, it seemed not completely improbable, even – dare I say it – possible. Could a Spoleto buzz blogger go an entire opening weekend without seeing a performance ruined because of a ringing cellphone? Friday’s opening Chamber Music concert was the only one in five years that hasn’t been marred by a wretched ringtone (previous concerts have included extemporaneous handbag renditions of “Fur Elise” and “Hava Nagila,” which, if nothing else, provides a fun metacommentary on the series’ programming). The Constant Wife, Friday evening, continued the streak. It seemed to good to be true.

And so it was. During yesterday’s 2 p.m. premiere of blessing the boats, smack in the middle of one of Sekou Sundiata’s heartfelt runimations on his own mortality, a cellphone in the row directly behind me began ringing. And ringing. And ringing. And ringing. Eyes were rolled, exasperated sighs were loosed, accusatory stares were leveled throughout the audience, but it took the offending party a half dozen sold rings of digging through her handbag – clearly the voicemail pickup was set at “infinity” – until she found the damn thing and switched it off. At that point, though, nobody in the room would have been surprised if the bitch had taken the call.

I’m thinking of adding a tracking widget to the sidebar of this blog, something that can provide a visual count of how many cellphones have rung during performances as we go through the festival. I'm almost tempted to risk making a scene of my own by taking a quick photo of offenders and posting it in this space. Public humiliation may be the only solution. If they can do it for perverts, why not cellphone offenders?

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