The Washington Post

Venues for performanc­es should keep paper programs


Michael Andor Brodeur’s July 24 Critic’s Notebook essay, “A difficult farewell to programs” [Arts & Style], explored the subject a bit too gently. I subscribe to all the National Symphony Orchestra, Fortas and ballet performanc­es at the Kennedy Center, and I also subscribe to other theaters in the D.C. area. Have the performers and their audiences been betrayed by those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing? At stage plays, printed programs have, for the most part, been restored. These administra­tors quickly understood cellphone-only programs meant that random rings were guaranteed and that it also gave implicit permission not to turn off one’s phone during a performanc­e.

It has always been my practice to turn off my phone to ensure I will not actively participat­e in the performanc­e I attend. An organizati­on cannot with any semblance of intellectu­al honesty require cellphone programs and then ask that cellphones be off during a performanc­e.

The Kennedy Center “knows” the cost of no programs, as its statements indicate.

(And, at every performanc­e, I hear attendees bemoaning the lack of a printed program.) But the Kennedy Center has not passed on these savings to ticket holders.

The Kennedy Center has become a repository of philistini­sm, much to my regret.

David M. Whalin, Annandale

The recent decision by the Kennedy Center to stop printing paper programs in favor of QR codes is a brazen example of discrimina­tion against senior citizens, the disabled and anyone who does not use a cellphone. I suspect that the real motive is to create an uncomforta­ble experience for old-timers to drive them away and replace them with a younger, more techsavvy demographi­c. The underlying message from the Kennedy Center is quite clear: “Old people are no longer welcome, but we hope you leave us lots of money in your will.”

Ellen Scaruffi, Severna Park

 ?? MATT MCCLAIN/THE WASHINGTON POST ?? Dancers rehearse June 6 for a show at the Kennedy Center.
MATT MCCLAIN/THE WASHINGTON POST Dancers rehearse June 6 for a show at the Kennedy Center.

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