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Talkative Audience Members

09 May 05 - 09:44 AM (#1480616)
Subject: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kim C

We play at outdoor events a lot where people are constantly coming and going. No big deal. But yesterday, just as I was introducing our last song of the set, a woman came right up to the stage and started talking to Mister. Said she couldn't possibly stay for the last song as her group was leaving. Anyhow, we gave her a card and said she could check our website for info on the upcoming CD.

In the meantime, I've got dead air onstage. I know it's important to be sweet to people and give them your attention - but what about when it's inconsiderate to the rest of the audience?

09 May 05 - 09:59 AM (#1480632)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST, Hamish

You said "our" - shouldn't one of the other band members have taken up the public chat whilst you were polite?

09 May 05 - 10:24 AM (#1480654)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kim C

It's just me and Mister. And I was trying to take up the public chat, but since I happened to be the one with cards in my pocket, I had to stop for just a second to get her one.

09 May 05 - 11:08 AM (#1480690)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Big Al Whittle

I remember one place, walked to foot of the stage, tugged at my trouser leg while I was singing and asked if I wanted to buy a raffle ticket.

if you read Django's biography, you'll see he had the same problems with audiences at various times. I think it goes with territory. If you get up onstage - there some people who will think - this is a situation I can contribute my personality towards - the audience will have their experience enriched by my intervention......they are wrong in this belief - but not in their own minds.

09 May 05 - 11:12 AM (#1480693)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kim C

Yeah, I reckon it ain't nothin but a thang. I suppose maybe in the informal settings people don't realize their breach of etiquette.

I've had people walk up to me and start talking to me while I'm fiddling. Right smack in the middle of a song.

Ah well. Tis but a wee frustration in the great scheme of things.

09 May 05 - 11:57 AM (#1480746)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST, Hamish

I guess it's better than being ignored!

09 May 05 - 12:09 PM (#1480765)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Bill D

You mean you DON'T require all those seeking admittance to your performances to show a certificate showing they have attended 3 weeks of Remedial Manners Classes for Audience Members!?? Then of course you will have folks who simply 'don't get it' about reasonable behavior...


09 May 05 - 12:25 PM (#1480784)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kim C

Yeah, yeah, I know... ;-)

09 May 05 - 12:28 PM (#1480792)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,Onlooker

Friend of mine was in the MIDDLE of her set at a festival last year, when one of the audience (who is a no more than, and possibly less than average floor singer) came up and gave her suggestions on what she considered was going wrong ! Had the same sort of thing happen to me in the middle of a show I was doing last year - in this case a friend came up during the interval and told me that I was talking too fast in the links. (Little did she know that I was having to do that as the first half was running far too long in rehearsal). In her case I think it was a general attempt to be helpful BUT not great for boosting one's confidence, and more than a little rude in my friend's case, I would have said!! There's something to be said for training in Audience Technique I feel.............

09 May 05 - 12:30 PM (#1480795)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Bernard

It probably felt far worse for you than for the audience - after all, I assume many of them could see what was happening.

If you got no complaints, why worry? I do understand what you mean - but a few moments pause is far better than a few moments unnecessary waffle any day! And I like waffles!!

09 May 05 - 12:55 PM (#1480835)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Ebbie

A friend of mine was literally in the middle of a song when a little bluehaired lady trotted up to her, obviously asking a question. My friend shook her head indicating the microphone, the LBHL persisted. Finally, my friend stopped, and said Yes? In piercing tones LBHL said, Do you know if that coffee is decaffeinated or not? My friend said graciously, I don't know, but over there in that red shirt is a guy who would know. Ask him.

She then went back to singing, leaving some of us groupies rolling on the floor laughing.

09 May 05 - 01:32 PM (#1480873)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,Les B.

I've never been able to decide if those type of people are absolutely oblivious to what's happening or if it's a subconscious ploy to get attention drawn to themselves.

And, they always seem to go to the person who is singing or playing the lead at the moment, never to who is playing backup.

In your case, Kim, it sounds like it was one of life's little dilemnas - ignore the person, or hand out a card and get more work later !!

I've been tempted to make a big production of it when one of these people interupt - saying "Well now folks, we're happy to have with us today one of the finest pickers and singers in this part of the country, old Joe Blow," and as you're saying this you hang your banjo or guitar around their neck or hand them your fiddle, and then say, "And which one of your tunes are you going to bless us with today?"   Of course it could all go horribly wrong - they could break an instrument, or worse, be a truly gifted picker or singer. But, in fantasy land it's fun to imagine. :)

09 May 05 - 01:40 PM (#1480881)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Bill D

I did see a performer in a pub many years ago just stop singing when a couple of guys started a conversation right in the front. He just looked down at them while the rest of the audience giggled.....The guilty parties finally looked up and mumbled something (maybe an apology...I couldn't hear), and the performer just said,
Oh, no...that's go and finish- I'll just start over when you're done."

They shut up, and he DID start over...

09 May 05 - 01:54 PM (#1480889)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Vixen

At ren faires and weddings and such, we're considering posting a sign on the hammered dulcimer saying "Please hold questions until we're not playing." People seem to realize that Reynaud, hammering away on the dulcimer, is not to be distracted. However, they seem to think I can answer their questions. How they can think I can answer them with a mouthful of recorder or pennywhistle is beyond me, so I give them what I hope is interpreted as a "wait just a mo" look and a nod, and hope they wait 'til we wrap up the number to ask their questions.


09 May 05 - 02:17 PM (#1480907)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T

Myself and Clive Lever were backup act to the guest at a club near Maidstone about eighteen months ago, when a mobile phone started playing a tune which was completely incompatible with the very quiet number we had just started.

The owner, in the front row of course, answered it, and proceeded to hold a long conversation. We kept going, and so did he, until he achieved a volume even we, with the benefit of PA, culdn't handle. So we stopped. He suddenly realised he was performing alone, said "Gotta go now", and rang off. No apology, just sat and waited for us to continue.

The organiser had a quiet word with him during the break, and we went on to start the second half, and two minutes in, the damn thing went off again, and he threw it through the open door into the car park. Best laugh of the evening! Stopped us dead for another five minutes.

The point is, of course, that by the time you comment, it's too late, so we didn't bother.

No amount of training would change him, I fear.

Don T.

09 May 05 - 02:26 PM (#1480916)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Clinton Hammond

I find a good, shouted, "HEY! Do I come bother you when you're servicing sailors?!?!' gets rid of them pretty well...

09 May 05 - 02:29 PM (#1480918)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Blowzabella

Several years ago, I was involved with an outdoor historical production, which took place over several days - different 'scenes' happened in different locations in town - over several days. The audience followed the scenes around and put the story together. scene, actually called for a procession through a part of town, led by musicians - playing hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, northumbrian pipes etc. Two elderly ladies clearly wanted to ask the hurdy-gurdy player about his instrument, but he was concentrating on a) playing his instrument and b) not tripping over while walkin and playing. Reasonably enough, therefore, he was ignoring her, despite her repeating her question several times.

Eventually, she gave up and turned to her friend, saying..."Isn't it amazing how these deaf and dumb people can be so musical" ...!!!

09 May 05 - 02:30 PM (#1480919)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Jeanie

I was once in a bizarre religious play which attracted a bizarre audience to match - who were seated on three sides of the stage area. After much loud debate, a couple stood up and walked right across the stage during a lighting/scene change. It was coming up to the interval, and I assumed they were off to the bar or toilet and wouldn't be coming back. Their departure was bad enough....but then, lo and behold, back they came again after a couple of minutes, not even waiting for a lighting change - in fact, at a very crucial "dramatic" moment when the Witch of Endor was conjuring up a vision of the prophet Samuel (or some similar Old Testament prophet) wafting across in spectral blue light.The dialogue went: "What can you see ?" - "I see an old man in a white robe" - The witch could just as well have added "followed by a middle-aged man in a tweed jacket and a lady in a blue cardigan."

When onstage I've often heard audience members passing remarks to each other during plays (just this last week, in The Merchant of Venice, during the trial scene: "Oooh, look, Marge, he's brought the scales with him") but I think that's rather good - it means they are really into the action - rather than becoming the action, like those cross stage wanderers !

- jeanie

09 May 05 - 02:32 PM (#1480922)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: frogprince

So, Don, Who flung the damn thing? it's owner, or the organizer. If the guy couldn't even think to set it on "vibrate" (If in fact he needed to be available for contact) after being approached about it, any measure up to and including smashing it should have been justifiable.

09 May 05 - 06:56 PM (#1481139)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T

No 'twas the owner who flung it. I guess the instructions were in English, not the usual Engrish, so he couldn't figure out how to silence it. Still, it WAS very quiet from then on.

BTW. He later slid off his chair and slept, on the floor, through the main act, a distinct improvement. The last I saw of him was at 11.30pm, wandering round the car park looking for it.

Nobody who was there is likely to forget him, so I suppose it might have been attention seeking.

Don T.

09 May 05 - 08:32 PM (#1481200)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: kendall

A drunken woman was running her mouth while Jud Strunk was performing. Suddenly he stopped and said, "Lady, give me a break, I wouldn't pull the mattress out from under you while you are working." She left to a chorus of riotous laughter.

09 May 05 - 09:02 PM (#1481219)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Margret RoadKnight

Mose Allison's "Your Mind Is On Vacation (But Your Mouth Is Working Overtime)" can come in handy .....

09 May 05 - 09:14 PM (#1481225)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members

I think Richard Thompson's put down to a heckler has to be a classic..."Somewhere, a village has lost it's Idiot!"

09 May 05 - 09:53 PM (#1481243)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Rapparee

I was doing tech for a play when a member of the audience came up on stage and started to talk to the villian. He, the villian, bowed the heroine, excused himself (all in character) and proceeded to pretend to begin to work his nefarious will upon the woman who came up to talk to him.

She fled; the audience loved it.

09 May 05 - 10:02 PM (#1481246)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Gypsy

I dunno. Seems like people ALWAYS want to ask about my hammered dulcimer as i am taking a solo. On the other has given me a new skill: conversation at about 200bpm! LOL! And the inebriated ones always find the handsome mando player whilst we are performing. We just learn to talk and play at the same time. More tips that way. ( and you haven't lived until you've had the drunken guy who picked up on our signals.......and echoed them!)

10 May 05 - 12:59 AM (#1481326)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

KIMCHEE You are taking yourselves FAR to seriously - lighten up.


10 May 05 - 12:33 PM (#1481730)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kim C

I know, I know . . . it's just I want to put forth my best professional effort, or reasonable facsimile thereof, and I just get a little ruffled when I think people are being rude, or if someone puts me in a position to be inconsiderate to the rest of the audience.

But I don't reckon it really matters.

10 May 05 - 06:10 PM (#1481977)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: The Fooles Troupe

There are 2 types of venues - silent adoration or background music.

If you don't like a place of one type, then you will only play there once.

10 May 05 - 06:33 PM (#1481992)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Uncle_DaveO

This doesn't happen only in entertainment venues.

I'm a court reporter--the guy that sits in a meeting with the little machine and writes down everything that's said, at real-time speeds. This is highly concentrated work, listening, understanding, and writing down English as she is spoke.

It has happened to me in a number of instances that people have come up in the middle of a case and spoken to me (very quietly, of course, "so as not to disturb anybody") about how do they order a transcript, or who is that lawyer over there representing or the like, or "how does that little machine work?" All I can do, of course, is to give a VIGOROUS shake of the head and pointedly look away from the interrupter.

And the strange thing is that often enough these interrupters are people who presumably know what's going on in a court of law, what a court reporter does, and so forth--including lawyers.   

And I'm not even in a position to stop performing and tell the interrupter to bug off, since the words I have to write down are flying at me at a rate of perhaps three to four words every second, and anything that I don't hear and write down right now is lost forever.   

Dave Oesterreich

10 May 05 - 06:59 PM (#1482014)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members

An actor to a woman with a bawling baby in the audience;
"Madam, if this play does not stop the baby cannot possibly continue."

11 May 05 - 12:51 AM (#1482196)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Look - KimChee - you may be paid a handful of sheckles.....but you are not yet professional. You are still experiencing a conflict between "common courtesy" and "professional obligation."

I.E. - Professional - gig is at 2:30 - you are set and ready at 2:15 - first note strikes at 2:29.99

Common Courtesy - Someone's kid barfed inside your instrument - you make excuses until 2:35 or sometime there-after.


11 May 05 - 03:59 AM (#1482255)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kaleea

Rudeness--it never ceases to amaze me.

I was giving a Guitar class (12 students) tonight at the local City Arts Center, when one woman's cell phone rang quite loudly. I hollared out my standard quip which I have had to use during performances, "It's for you!" Most of the time this embarasses the person & they silence their phone or quietly slep out of the room. She proceeded to answer her cell phone loudly. Fortunately for me, tonight was the last night of this class.

11 May 05 - 07:22 AM (#1482339)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,Blackford John

One comment I've heard levelled at talkers is " The last time a saw a mouth that big, it had a hook in it".

A word of caution is be sure that you are in a "safe" environment. Recently I asked then had to instruct a member of the audience to get off my playing stool and to leave my guitar alone during the interval. His response was to suggest that we settled the issue in the car-park of the inn!!

Sometimes, absolute politeness is the only wayto survive!!

11 May 05 - 08:56 AM (#1482401)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,guest

I too have been amazed at people who walk up to the stage and strike up a conversation (might be a song request, question about what you are singing, etc. RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A SONG!. What are they thinking!!?

11 May 05 - 03:36 PM (#1482658)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Kim C

Gargoyle, I am indeed a professional, and a trained one at that. Which is why the same venues keep inviting me back year after year. So bite me.

11 May 05 - 04:06 PM (#1482684)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Bo

Next time you bump into Gordon Giltrap ask him to tell you about the "Cornish Fruit Machine" incident.
He was still talking it about last time I saw him.
Tell him I said Hi!


11 May 05 - 05:54 PM (#1482765)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: frogprince

Not as music situation, but: was watching an amateur, but professional quality, little theater performance, done by
two "elderly" seated characters, when an audience member got
up on stage and proceeded to take close-up photographs of the
performers. The only thing to be said for him was, he didn't
keep it up for more than a minute or so. There was kind of a
wave of "gasp" through the audience. The guy was something
of a known dipstick, but to my knowledge that was his
crowning moment.

11 May 05 - 05:59 PM (#1482769)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Justa Picker

Never ever under-estimate the stupidity and blatant ignorance which others are capable of.
Then you won't ever be surprised or caught off guard.

11 May 05 - 06:01 PM (#1482772)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Peace

I had a table in a club one time who wanted to talk. I started a song and stopped in mid stanza. Then stared at them. As did everyone else in the establishment. The table left.

11 May 05 - 08:09 PM (#1482863)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex

A lot of people just don't go out much and really aren't used to public entertainment any more. They are accustomed to chatting through TV shows and treat public performance in the same way. This was very noticable when attending plays and concerts at my daughters' school.

11 May 05 - 09:41 PM (#1482913)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Beer

I use to be responsiable for entertainment in a very large psychiatric hospital. Some of you may be able to relate here(as guest performers that is). I use to tell new comers that if you can perform here you can play and sing any where out there. Psyc. patients will tell you if your good, your not worth s...., get up and leave, talk to their neighbour or tell some one to shut up because they are listening. They are the most honest people I know. But to the topic at hand. As much as we would like to bop them one, it will always be there. Then maybe?, they are showing that side of them that needs a little professional help.

11 May 05 - 10:11 PM (#1482935)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Lin in Kansas

Peter from Essex:

I think you have it...TV doesn't care if you make an ass of yourself in front of it. Unfortunately, many people tend to believe this reflects the "real" world. They do exactly the same thing in movie theaters. Very, very annoying...

Also, I think most people don't realize how much skill and concentration it takes to play and sing music, so they don't have any idea what chaos they're causing.

On the other hand, a lot of people just don't think. We've had even our home jams interrupted by two of the jammers wanting to carry on a conversation while everyone else is playing music. Usually one of us will ask them to "go take a break in the kitchen" and get them out of the immediate vicinity so they can finish their talk elsewhere. This probably doesn't work nearly as well in public!


12 May 05 - 12:03 AM (#1483007)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members
From: Peace


The strangest experience I ever had on stage was doing a set at the Montreal School for the Deaf. THAT was different. I also did some performances in The JGH psych wing and it was much as you say. I enjoyed both performances very much, and the folks I sang for seemed to, also. I never sang at the Allen (sp).

12 May 05 - 12:42 AM (#1483021)
Subject: RE: Talkative Audience Members

Original poster - if your were truly interesting - and commanding of a stage prescence - you would not encounter this problem.

I agree with gargoyle - you need to develope a professional command.