Monday, May 21, 2012

Standing Ovations

I'm not the kind of cultured person who goes to the opera, ballet, or symphony on a regular basis, but occasionally I will grace these upper class activities with my presence. If a performance is off the chart exceptional, then the audience is supposed to jump to their feet to applaud at the conclusion. I'm okay with a well earned standing ovation, but there are a few concerns I have with this practice.

I've never dreamed about being on stage and having people yell bravo and throw roses on stage around me. It's usually money they throw in my dreams. Anyway, below I list a few scenarios that I don't like about the encore mentality.

Peer Pressure-The first scenario is when someone sitting up front stands and starts clapping and it's kind of like the wave as those sitting behind them follow his example and then the peer pressure spreads until everyone feels obligated to stand and applaud. If you ever want to feel like the scum of the earth, just don't stand after the guy in a wheel chair has finished his motivational speech and see what looks you get from the audience.

The Glory Hogs- I also find it amusing when a performer leaves the stage quickly as the audience is applauding. As the audience continues to clap, they then come out for an encore bow. Sometimes I feel that certain performers try to see how many times they can race off the stage as fast as possible and run back before the clapping stops in an effort to get bragging rights about how many ovations they received. Rock stars are also guilty of walking off stage and waiting for enough applause until they come out for a few encore numbers.

Undeserved-I think as a society we are too inclined to automatically offer up a standing ovation without it really being earned. This goes for musicians, politicians, artists, and athletes. If an athlete is having his number retired and being honored after a long and successful career he probably deserves it. If he scored 8 points in the second half and is being taken out of the game, probably not so much. Your son may have been the best carrot in the school play about nutrition, but does he really deserve a standing ovation?

Just remember, if everyone gets a standing ovation every time they speak, perform, or present, then it is no longer something special and it loses it's meaning. If this continues to be the trend, we will have to come up with some other way to express our appreciation for a person who exceeds our expectations. In an effort to preserve the integrity of the standing ovation, I will not be forced into participating in them unless I am completely blown away or moved to tears by something, kind of like how you feel after reading my posts.

1 comment:

Kristina P. said...

I am giving you a standing O!