During the most recent season of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David is caught falling asleep during a production of “Hamilton,” a breach of etiquette tantamount to letting your child go free-range at a restaurant too fancy to serve fries.
So it is with trepidation I admit to a few heavy-lidded stretches when I watched a recent performance of “Hamilton” at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe.
I never quite dozed off, but there were times I had that 1,000-yard stare common to parents attempting to rock their toddlers back to sleep at 2 a.m.
It was more to do with the setting than the play
Live theater requires certain behaviors not found in other venues hosting events lasting roughly three hours.
- You must remain in your seat while the play is in progress.
- Should circumstances force you to make your way from seat to lobby, such violations incur judgmental stares and groans of embellished inconvenience.
- If theater-goers were allowed to tweet (and they most certainly are not), anyone interrupting the action would be targets of posts starting, “What is it with some people?”
- Eating in your seat also is frowned upon (especially you, crinklers of cellophane and jostlers of popcorn).
- And if you must drink, it should be confined to sips from an alcoholic beverage containing no ice, and not to the extent that would have you applauding at inappropriate times (i.e., when no one else is).
My preparation for “Hamilton” also played a part in my hit-and-run sluggishness
I ate and drank sparingly, drastically reducing the need for bathroom breaks. It also meant sitting still for three hours, even during intermission, a situation that invites slumber. Ask any juror.
If the same spectating rules applied to baseball, you’d be drifting off by the third inning. Instead you are encouraged to visit the concession stand early and often. As the game lingers on, there are trivia games and kiss-cams and mascot races. The boredom-repelling overlord that is the scoreboard tells you how and when to cheer.
While a few “Hamilton” bits are hazy, I came away thinking it was a stunning play, and not just because everyone on the planet feels the same way (though such universal acclaim tends to suppress criticism).
And it was way better than “Cats.”