Hav­ing a bum night at bal­let is the crutch of the mat­ter

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - LINDA SILMALIS

RATHER than pon­der­ing “to be or not to be”, the­atre­go­ers need in­stead to con­sider if it is no­bler to suf­fer the bot­toms or the groins of other pa­trons.

In other words, if you have to squeeze past other peo­ple to reach your seats, should you face them or face the stage.

This vex­ing ques­tion was care­fully con­sid­ered by our state par­lia­men­tar­i­ans last week. State op­po­si­tion arts spokesman Walt Secord, who raised the is­sue, said he had been en­joy­ing a performance of Sir Robert Help­mann’s Merry Widow at the Syd­ney Opera House last month when he “en­coun­tered this prob­lem”.

“I am not re­fer­ring to the glow of tex­ting or chat­ting. I re­fer to whether one faces fel­low the­atre­go­ers or the stage when cross­ing a seat to reach one’s own,” he told State Par­lia­ment last week.

Mr Secord said he had been seated in the mid­dle of a row, re­sult­ing in a con­stant pas­sage of peo­ple, which trig­gered dis­cus­sion among nearby au­di­ence mem­bers.

Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the re­main­ing min­utes of an ad­journ­ment speech where MPs of­fer their “ob­ser­va­tions on life”, Mr Secord posed to the ques­tion to MPs.

Quot­ing eti­quette ex­pert Emily Post, Mr Secord said the renowned 1920s Amer­i­can au­thor ruled you should face the stage. “Emily Post ... said al­ways face the stage and press as close to the backs of the seats you are fac­ing as you can,” he said.

Her views are echoed by Aus­tralian eti­quette au­thor­ity June Dally Watkins in her sem­i­nal 2011 book A Guide To Aus­tralian Eti­quette.

But mag­a­zine doyenne Ita But­trose dis­agreed, ar­gu­ing “one must face the pa­tron”, Mr Secord said, adding: “I con­cur and that is my ap­proach.”

Walt Secord.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.