Standing Ovations and Other Vicious Cycles
Some guy right close to the front leaps to his feet during the final applause, dragging the rest of his slightly-embarrassed party up a moment later.
Then the people behind the enthusiast, who do sort of want to see who’s taking their bows (so that they can clap extra-loud when the upstaging clown that stole the show comes forward, creating a swell of noise that the leads will remember and resent for the rest of the run), spend a moment or two craning their necks in frustration. Eventually they give up and stand too.
A ripple of rising people spreads through the theater in a painful and awkward way that even the actors on stage couldn’t mistake for a genuine standing ovation. Soon everyone’s on their feet and 9/10 of them have the good sense to feel embarrassed about it.
This is a sad and vicious cycle! It can be started by anything from a person with a friend in the show to the jerk who doesn’t stay for the applause, but was right in the center of a tightly-packed row and has to make like twelve people stand to let him slip out. Because getting out of the parking garage five minutes sooner was that important, guy?
Please don’t be a part of this. Keep your butt firmly planted in your seat throughout the curtain call unless it was such a truly magnificent performance that you cannot contain your enthusiasm and must leap to your feet, possibly shouting “Bravo!” (or “Brava!” for the ladies, of course). It makes a true standing ovation much more meaningful for the performers, and the rest of us really would like to see everyone take their bows.