Every performance of my Palm Beach Dramaworks production of Satchmo at the Waldorf is prefaced by a special turn-off-your-cellphones announcement that I wrote myself. It’s based on the model announcement that I published in The Wall Street Journal back in February. I figured I’d never get a better chance to see whether my ideas worked than my own production.
As of the evening of June 5, the announcement has been played before twenty-nine performances of Satchmo. No cellphones rang or were visibly used during twenty-five of those performances.
And what of the other four? A single cellphone rang—briefly—during both performances on May 21 and at the evening performance on May 22. In addition, one cellphone rang seven times during the May 14 matinée. The gods themselves inveigh in vain against stupidity! Nevertheless, twenty-five out of twenty-nine isn’t just not bad—it’s really, really good.
I’ll continue to monitor our stage-management performance reports and let you know whether my special announcement continues to work successfully. So far, though, it’s looking as though I’ve made a breakthrough, one that other theater companies might want to consider emulating.
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For the text of my no-cellphones announcement, go here.