Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'We interrupt this blog to ...'

I don't mean to wear out a theme, but examples of interruptions during presentations seem ubiquitous.

To wit, an item I saw yesterday about what happened when a cell phone interrupted Hugh Jackman during the Broadway play, A Steady Rain. The actor halted his soliloquy and glared at the audience member. "You want to get that?" he snarled, pacing the stage. "Come on, just turn it off." When the ringing finally stopped he resumed the play.

The incident was captured by another audience member - one can only guess what Jackman would do to that miscreant - and posted on the website.

Granted, the interruption came during an especially dramatic moment of character revelation and the ensuing applause indicated the audience was on Jackman's side.

However I'll bet everyone left the performance talking not about A Steady Rain but about The Ringing Phone.

Besides, from the time of Athenian drama, stage actors have encountered everything from rude conversations to coughing fits to set malfunctions. The more professional they are the better they can deal with surprises.

Certainly it would have been tough for Jackman to ignore the phone but it had to be even tougher for him to get back in character and for the audience to once again suspend disbelief.

As I've said before, the presenter's best reaction to an interruption is none at all.


John Ettorre said...

Funny you should mention that, because in my last presentation, a lady happened to take a cellphone call. It was a small group in a relatively small room, and thus seemed extraordinarily rude. Part of me wanted to just stop the proceedings and silently glare at her. But of course, as you note, the best thing is to ignore it.

Mike Q said...

I know -- I was there. She didn't even speak very quietly. You were very professional about it.

John Ettorre said...

Just kind of leaves you shaking your head, doesn't it? My mom had a one-size-fits-all comment about such astounding rudeness. She would ask, "were you born in a barn?"

TaylorSwift said...

As many of plays lovers I LOVE A Steady Rain ! It is my favourite ever...I've seen it in New York and next week I’m going to visit my sister and I just got some pretty good tickets .So I'll be analyzing as well as enjoying the show.

Mike Q said...

Do I get a commission from any tickets you sell on this link?