When did the standing ovation become meaningless?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DaveF, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've been to a few live performances recently, and look forward to my season tickets in the city's Broadway Theater League. But I'm seeing that the standing ovation is pro forma for the audience. My understanding was that the standing O was for extraordinary performances, not just the normal starring performance.

    Is this old news? Is there some new laudatory reserved for the truly exceptional performance?
     
  2. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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    I think you're right, there has been some deflation in the value of the SO. At least it is still the case that a routine performance by the orchestra as a whole rarely gets an SO for my local orchestra. Pretty much every soloist gets one - but maybe we're just lucky enough to great soloists [​IMG]
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    In fact, yes. The Times published an article almost five years ago entitled "The Tyranny of the Standing Ovation".

    My personal theory is that it's more common with audiences whose members infrequently attend live performances. When such things become "special" events, everything about them has to be special, including the applause. I think that's why I routinely see standing ovations at Broadway shows, but not off-Broadway, where the audiences are smaller and more likely to be composed of subscribers and other regular theater-goers.
     
  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    But don't you feel odd to be in an audience where there are only a few people standing up giving the ovation. It's kind of like traffic from rubbernecking on accidents on the highway, it only takes one person to stop and slow down to look to back up everybody on a densely packed highway...

    I would feel kind of odd not to be standing if there is a small group of the audience standing... but it is kind of a % thing, if there is one person standing about 4000 aisles in front of me, it's different than if the row in front of me is standing or if the people next to you is standing so it's also a proximity thing. A chain reaction could occur when a small group of folks stand and it just waves out from there...

    But you're probably right, there certainly is a degrading of the SO, kind of like the word "hero" these days, everybody is a hero!

    Jay
     
  5. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    The same could be said for the terms "famous" and "celebrity", the standards have been degraded.

    I remember going to see a high school play many years ago that was given a standing ovation, and I overheard someone saying "I thought a standing O was supposed to be for something really special". But for the parents of those kids I guess it was something special.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Personally, no. I don't even feel odd to be sitting in an audience where most people are standing (though in fact I'm sometimes forced to stand if I want to see the curtain call at all). If I'm close enough to the stage for the performers really to see me, then I express my appreciation through the enthusiasm of my applause, by the expression on my face, and vocally. More important, I express it by sitting still and paying attention during the performance -- a form of appreciation that is fast dying out at live performances.
     
  7. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    It is also kind of like an "encore" at a rock concert. [​IMG] They know that they will do one, so they save their best song for it.
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Another term that's been degraded is "star". That isn't enough now. It has to be "superstar".
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I don't feel odd, but it's still necessary to participate. The ovation occurs at the curtain call, and as everyone rises to applaud, I can no longer see the performers take their bow, so I too am forced to rise to enjoy it (or sit and applaud the backs of the row in front of me.

    Michael, thanks for the link. It's been a while since I've been to live shows, and hadn't seen the ovation inflation.
     
  10. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Yes, I couldn't agree more. Many, many years ago I was at a performance of Falstaff (I think) with Victor Buono at the Old Globe in San Diego. I was sitting halfway back and I kept thinking something was wrong. It turned out some guy in the first or second row was talking and distracting the actors.

    Buono stopped the play, stepped forward to the idiot and said "Shut Up!" in a very angry voice. The guy said something and Buono replied "I don't care, shut up or get out!" Than the play resumed.

    I've never encountered something so blatant since, but have encountered many movie goers who think the movie theater is their living room.

    We now return you to the normal thread subject. Sorry 'bout that.
     
  11. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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  12. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    I welcome any standing ovation because I just want to stand up and stretch.
    My butt gets so sore if I have to sit for a long time.

    ______________________________________________



    For those who weren't wearing sunglasses.
     
  13. Lucia Duran

    Lucia Duran Screenwriter

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    Not only have standing ovations become meaningless, but I was greatly disappointed when I went to my first opera performance (La traviata) and I bought a beautiful dress and had my hair done just for the occasion, only to arrive and see 99% of the people in jeans and tshirts. There were maybe a handful of people wearing dresses and suits.

    A friend of mine even said that people don't dress up for Broadway plays anymore. Such a heartbreak for me.
     
  14. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Your friend is correct, but that's how it's been for many years. Bear in mind that, when Broadway was revived in the 90s, it took on many elements of a theme park. One doesn't dress up for a theme park.

    (The above is not a criticism, BTW, merely an observation. Though I occasionally indulge in nostalgia for the old, seedy Times Square captured in films like Taxi Driver, the one we have today has distinct advantages, and it's been essential in NYC's revival.)
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    It seems that dressing up is becoming more rare, period. Not at classical concerts, not in church, not dining out. Several years ago I went to a meeting where I work and I was the only man there wearing a tie. I stopped bothering after that. It seems strange to watch movies from the 40s and 50s, where the typical man on the street is wearing a suit and tie (and a hat!), and the typical woman is wearing a dress (another rarity).
     
  16. Lucia Duran

    Lucia Duran Screenwriter

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    I don't wear makeup, I don't do my hair every day and I certainly couldn't entertain the idea of wearing a dress every day, but I do admire the attention to detail that women and men use to have back in the day. It's all very glamorous, old hollywood. Now a days it is very theme parkish isn't it?

    We have become a very casual society. I just think for occasions such as the opera, the theater or a nice dinner out, it's fun to dress up and make an event of it.

    My family still dresses in their Sunday best when going to church.
     
  17. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    Yea... Me Too!
    [​IMG]
     
  18. RafaelB

    RafaelB Second Unit

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    I was recently at a performance of "The Road To Mecca" here in DC and was talking about this with my companion. We both the the play was good and well-performed but it didn't deserve the full standing O that the majority of the audience (over 80% from what we could see) gave it.
     
  19. Matt^Brown

    Matt^Brown Supporting Actor

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    I hate the concert "Encore". It is so fake that I dread the part of the concert where it happens. Sometimes two or three times before the concert actually ends.
     
  20. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    What I hate is if I don't stand and join the ovation, everyone thinks that I didn't like the show. They take staying seated as a statement of dissatisfaction.
     

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