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A More Humane Mikado

May 18, 2016

My most recent visits have been dogged by poor audience behaviour – mostly taking photographs / filming, when expressly told not to – and being exceptionally rude to staff trying to do their jobs and stop them.

Therefore, in the spirit of “The Mikado,” I have decided that the “punishment should fit the crime.” So, in that vein, let’s take a look at sentencing guidelines, for those who’d rather do anything that watch what’s on the stage…

Photographers and Videographers: The show’s team get to wire their house with cameras and “live stream” them 24/7, free of charge and unedited.

Latecomers: those willing to watch on TV in the bar, before slipping unobtrusively into their seats can take the TV punishment as sufficient. Those making a noise and requiring “filling in” on what they missed, will find themselves on stage at the interval, script in hand, showing everybody else.

The phone ringing after the “turn it off” warning: Headphones, clamped in place by ushers and playing loud and annoying sounds (any Subo CD will do) for the rest of the performance.

The “glowing” phone: Usher sets the person’s eyebrows ablaze at the interval. Really lights up a face.

Talkers: Ball-gag fitted (ask a “Fifty Shades of Grey” reader for further information).

Seat Kicker: Ticket for any Ryanair flight, seated in front of a five year old boy who has been primed with Haribo and Coca-Cola.

Soap-Dodger: Free skunk to take home.

Arm-rest Hog: much as there’s a temptation to introduce Sharia Law, a sense of proportion must be kept. A simple strait-jacket takes care of wandering arms.

Sweet bag Rustler: Roald Dahl has this one covered. Straight down the rubbish chute with all the sticky papers. If theatres can find giant squirrels to act as the bouncers to do this, so much the better.

Drunk: Has to watch “How To Hold Your Breath” stone cold sober. Actually, Amnesty International may have something to say about that one, but my blog, my rules.

A simple “Ed Stone” type granite block, with the rules clearly set out, located in the heart of the theatre district and reproduced in all programmes and foyer posters may have the desired effect (and maybe knock out a few drunks crashing into an unyielding surface), but frankly, I’m not holding my breath…

…which, come to think of it, should be the punishment for those turning up and coughing through the whole show…

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