Solaire ‘cracks down’ on cell phone use during shows, as ‘Les Mis’ is extended | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THEY may be godsends in other ways, but inside a theater, where you’re supposed to be savoring and focusing on an ephemeral work of art, a cell phone can be the bane of a theater-goer’s existence.


Case in point: watching “Les Miserables” at Solaire, one feels like throwing a rock at dense Philistines who, despite numerous warnings from theater management, ushers and the voice-over announcement, still check their cell phones in the middle of a scene.


They probably think they’re being unobtrusive, but look here, people: the entire audience behind your seat are blinded by your annoyingly bright phone screen, and it is a serious distraction. During a recent show, one Philistine chose to check his Facebook (yes, we could all see, and we all groaned) right before Jean Valjean’s exquisite, solemn performance of “Bring Him Home.” Talk about ruining the mood.


Here’s the good news: The theater ushers at Solaire are doing a splendid job of calling the imbeciles out.


Dressed in unobtrusive black and positioned behind the audience, they quietly make their way into the rows to remind culprits, who can only bluster a feeble “Oh, I’m sorry,” or worse, ignore the young men, although they do put away their phones. (Hisses from their seatmates certainly help.)


Consider yourselves lucky; in some performance venues abroad, those guys would shine a laser in your face. Now that would piss you off, wouldn’t it?


We commended the young men after the show and encouraged them to continue the crackdown.


Believe us, you are not that important; the world won’t screech to a halt if you can’t be contacted for a couple of well-spent hours.


It may take a major production like “Les Mis” to implement this seriously, but this should be standard in all performance venues in the country.


Like we said within earshot of one of the offenders after the show, “Maybe people should just stay home and watch the DVD so they can pause the darn thing.” Naturally, he gave us the evil eye—but mister, our cattiness was nothing compared to the  sheer disrespect and inconsideration that you showed, not just to other theatergoers but especially to the performers, who sing their hearts out, but can be seriously thrown off by the distant glimmer.


You need to be reached, you say? Then don’t sit in a theater for three hours and ruin everybody else’s experience. Sic ’em, Solaire.


Incidentally, “Les Miserables” at the Theatre at Solaire has been extended to May 1, after which they absolutely must close.


Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s legendary musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo has been playing to full houses, and is presented in Manila by Smart Infinity.


The international cast includes a magnificent Simon Gleeson as Jean Valjean, Earl Carpenter as Javert and our very own Rachelle Ann Go as Fantine.


Catch this theater classic—but please, don’t inspire another rant like this, and put your phones away.


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