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