THE BOO BOX
posted by James Reel
In the Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout offers this proposal for audiences wishing to express themselves more assertively in this era of obligatory standing ovations:
I came up with a substitute that I call "The Silent Boo." Since many theater companies now encourage playgoers to recycle their programs, why not place two transparent recycling containers in the lobby after the show, one marked CHEERS and the other JEERS? That strikes me as a neat and practical method of reaping the benefits of booing while simultaneously minimizing its incivility. Wouldn't your emotional investment in a performance be heightened if you could "vote" on its merits in a simple and convenient manner that was easily visible both to the performers and to your fellow audience members?
A think a better start, though, would be banning standing ovations for all but the most orgasmic performances. Audience response should be allowed more nuance than this mindless and insincere enthusiasm allows.