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A Rant on Rent

We saw Rent for the 10th time on Saturday night. Now, I know I harp on theater annoyances quite a bit, but I can't help it; there's just so much to harp on. Since we were a little early, we had to kill some time in the lobby while waiting for the ushers to open the doors to the actual theater. While we were waiting, I happened to notice that the cocktail bar in the lobby also sold candy…lots of candy. And not just regular-sized packages of candy, king-sized packages of candy. Now, I'm not going to deny anyone their one pre-theater cocktail, but since when are Twizzlers served with champagne? Are Kit-Kats on their way to replacing the olive as a post-martini snack food? Are people really going to consume a bagful of 75 mints during a less-than-three-hour performance? I'm not even going to start with what I think of the people who actually brought their foot-long boxes of Ju-Ju-Bees into the performance with them, as if they were at the movies or something. You couldn't swing a dead cat during intermission without hitting some snack-fiend standing dumbly in the aisle, gripping a giant, half-eaten Nestle Crunch bar, the foil all wrapped around the top because a person simply can't eat that much chocolate in 15 minutes.

You would think that with all of this sugar being consumed that the audience would actually be, oh, I don't know, awake for the show. I've heard from other people who go to Rent a lot that San Francisco audiences are generally very under-enthusiastic, which I didn't quite believe since the audience on opening night was pretty lively, as was the one when we won the lotto and sat in the front (though maybe that was just because we were sitting in the front.&#41 But Saturday night was dead! Rent is a loud, rock music-style musical, so clapping, cheering and general enthusiasm are expected, not to mention that it also helps the actors' energy if the audience is receptive. The place was one big flatline. When no one in the entire balcony gave them a standing ovation, I was in shock. Huh? Avery and I stood up alone. I know I've said that I hate when people talk, slurp, and chew their way through a show, but on the other hand, it's OK to show that you actually have a pulse. Crazy San Franciscans.

Posted in Scowls.

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