Arts, Column

Drunkards and Tom-Foolery Invade BC Arts’ Audiences

“You’re just too good to be true,” Mike Mastellone, CSOM ’18, belted out as the horns and saxes of BC bOp! faded out. Thunderous applause met the Boston College jazz band as its fantastic cover of Frankie Valli’s classic hit “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” ended. As the cheers and whistles died down, the man who decided he’d give his own performance throughout the show let out his sixth cry of the night.

“KATIE,” he shouted, slurring his words horrendously, “KATIE!” The crowd chuckled a bit, but the majority of people around me weren’t happy. After each and every song BC bOp! performed that night, this one man felt the need to cry out Katie’s name, hoping to…I don’t really know what.

While this one individual was the loudest of the crowd that had gathered in Robsham that night, he wasn’t the only one who had had more than his share to drink. I got to the show a bit early, as I customarily do when I’m reviewing something for The Heights (I’m an anxious guy that needs to be on time), and I noticed more than a handful of people stumbling in, being obnoxiously loud, and even sipping from a flask they’d brought along. It’s always funny to see people drunkenly meandering to their seats at these shows that I review, stone-cold sober. Trust me, after a year working the Arts section, you start to notice drunkards streaming into plays, band performances, and dance shows more often than not.

I get it, to a degree. People want to have a good time. Alcohol makes for a good time. Maybe someone going to these shows thinks it might be a little boring and that they’ll need a bit of a kick to get them through the two-hour performance. Maybe a group of friends is planning on going straight to the cast party after the show and they want to start pre-gaming during the show. Like I said, I get it—sort of.

But, as far as I can see, drinking before or during on-campus performances becomes a problem pretty quickly. People start heckling, calling out to their friends on stage at really inconvenient moments, and even getting sick in the middle of shows. I’ve seen it all. It’s not like most of these shows go very late into the night. Most start at 7:30 or 8 p.m. I’ve seen people running out of the theater, holding their hands to their mouth at 8:30 p.m. I’m also not talking about a few isolated incidents either. I’m not going to say this happens at every performance I go to, but like I said, I see these types of things more often than not when I go to a show on campus. The one exception is plays. Everyone respects the theatre, I guess.

Now, I don’t want to sit here and sound like Big Brother or someone who doesn’t indulge in a couple drinks now and again, but I really don’t see the point in going to these shows if you’re going to be hammered. You don’t remember anything that happened. You sit there, unable to focus, until that friend you came to see in the comedy group comes out for his or her bit. You try the best you can to process what they did and while you might generally remember the skit he or she was in, you don’t remember a single line that, at the time, held you in side-splitting laughter. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and it’s terrible.

And I’ve never been on the other end of the tom-foolery, but it’s hard to imagine that the performers appreciate the shenanigans that go on out in the audience. If I haven’t pointed it out, it’s unbearable enough as an audience member to see more than a few students lampooning about in a really distracting manner. I can’t picture what must go through some performers’ minds. Sure, some of them probably couldn’t care less. I’d think, however, that a few (if not most) people on stage would prefer that their friends who came to see them actually remembered what the performer did in a show, not just that their friend remembered seeing them for a few minutes.

I might sound like a cranky old man, and if you think I do, that’s fine with me. I really don’t care. I’m not trying to point out an epidemic that I think needs a serious amount of attention. I’m just trying to point out to those who decide to have a few drinks before they go to the next Irish Dance show or BC bOp! program that they’re not adding anything to a show when they make their presence known to anyone. It’s usually not funny. It’s just sort of a bother. Next time, leave the performing to those who you came to see perform.

Featured Image By Clare Kim / Heights Staff

January 28, 2016