As box office supervisor for Civic Center Music Hall, Carolan Bledsoe has a pet peeve: people not double-checking their tickets, showing up on the wrong night, and then blaming it on her.
But local theater staffers have others. Increasingly "comfy" clothes trends of the past 20 years sometimes clash with acceptable dress at indoor, reserved-seat venues (outdoors, just about anything goes).
Two decades ago, men dressed in suit and tie, but audiences are much less formal now. But shorts and flip-flops? A bit over the line. If asked, most suggest wearing "casual, but nice" apparel, like pants with a shirt tucked in.
Staffers agreed their biggest headaches stem from cell phones, but believe it's mostly a lack of education about what's expected. Most people know now to turn off their phones, but taking pictures with your cell phones or texting is a definite no-no, distracting to actors and audience alike.
Said Jennifer Rosson, Pollard Theatre assistant, "It's great to laugh out loud and applaud, but not OK to text someone about your enthusiasm."
Live theater is different from movies or television. The audience plays an active, critical part in the happening. You don't just drift in and out like you might watching a rented movie. The audience participates, but the show is up there on the stage.
As Bledsoe said, "There's a reason the audience is in the dark."