Student behavior at drama performances questioned


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Kennedy O’Gilvie Joplin, C. K. McClatchy High School

The C. K. McClatchy Lion Pride Players recently put on a production of the musical “All Shook Up.” The play was shown May 8-12, and even though everything went smoothly, the performers said they had to deal with the problem of the lack of theater etiquette from the Humanities and International Studies Program (HISP) students. 

What attracts the HISP students to the play is the fact that the play is a double credit humanities event.

Sophomore and student of HISP, Harrison Z’Berg, describes it as, “HISP kids need humanities credit and they have to attend cultural events, festivals, etc.”

For HISP students they need three Humanities events per school quarter. These Humanities events range from museums, churches not of one’s religion, festivals, theater and musical productions, and more. School productions, like plays and music concerts, are worth double humanities events. Due to the disruption coming from the audience it is rumored that the double humanities might be taken away.

Senior, Aaron Allen, describes the situation: “They will come to our performances but they will only come for cultural events. So they don’t actually care about the performance. So they won’t cheer, they won’t clap, they won’t laugh, and they leave halfway through. So, during intermission they go home. So our crowds are way smaller. It’s every time. Every time we have matinée.”

One actor walked off stage the other night, after intermission, he came back, he looked at me and said the entire right side of the auditorium is empty. Because they all left as soon as intermission hit. And they still get their credits for it, said Maddie Koenigsacker, 12th grade.

Z’Berg, says, “It just depends on who you are and I think that expecting High schoolers to really enjoy, love and respect high school level theater performance is a big, big ask, out of high schoolers. I agree that it is disrespectful, but highschoolers are disrespectful and anyone that cannot accept that fact is going to be very offended by it.”

One of the main arguments coming from the students of HISP was that because of HISP students’ need for the humanities events they buy most of the tickets.

Allen said, “It is mostly family and friends who actually purchase tickets. HISP kids come and purchase tickets but they leave. We aren’t doing it for the money, the money is nice. We are doing it because we put our time and effort into it.”

Koenigsacker, who is in both HISP and theater, shares their irritation.

“It’s frustrating to come into class and talk to people about it. They’re like, “Oh my god, I am going to come see the show tonight,” and I watch them leave at intermission. It’s weird.” she said. 

Z’Berg says, “Taking away the double humanities event wouldn’t do much, if anything, it would encourage more people to go because then they truly need it. Either way kids are going to go and either way kids are not going to stay for the whole time. While that can be disrespectful, I think it’s also because you don’t pay a lot of money for this so you’re not really tied to it or have a commitment to it. It’s a different thing if you know someone that is performing or if you’re going to see the general plot of the play so you could write about it. 

“I think a lot of kids who are being “disrespectful” just want to get their credit.”

The disrespect doesn’t stop at talking in the middle of performances 

“There was someone with a Chromebook open, during ‘She Kills Monsters,’” said Koenigsacker.

Allen said, “Someone tried to bring in a megaphone and they had to get it confiscated at the door. They’re (students) just incredibly disrespectful. It’s honestly to the point where we don’t want it to be a cultural event anymore.”

While to some it may not seem to have a big effect on the actors, the perfomers said the truth is the opposite.

“We come back from the second act and be like, ‘I just don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t even want to finish the show.’” said Allen, “it alters how professional you can be. You can’t give what you’re not getting.”