We kicked off Act II of the Fall Formal with a traditional theatrical performance. I had put out a request for writers to write a scene that was set in the audience of the Fall Formal. Rcjohnso contributed a beautifully written piece, and I asked the wonderful actor, Neil Patrick Harris to perform it with me. Jared cleared the four seats in front of us so Tarin could get a good two-shot, and Neil and I took our seats with the lights down.
The piece's title and a writing credit for rcjohnso came up on the screen, the drummer gave us a drum roll, the lights came up, and we began. The scene was playing very well; the crowd was enormously responsive. And then, about half way through, an attendee of the Fall Formal named PressPlaySTEF walked up to us and said "excuse me," interrupting the scene. Neil and I stood up and let her sit down in the seat next to Neil. She sat down, as if it were her seat.
In fact, IT WAS NOT HER SEAT, we reserved that ticket in order to guarantee that nobody would interrupt the scene.
Wanting to avoid an awkward distraction, I tried to make the situation as comfortable as possible. However, I was pretty sure that if I didn't say anything, she would interrupt the scene further, so I broke the action, acknowledged her, gave her a round of applause, and then made her promise she wouldn't talk during the rest of the scene.
I'll admit there was something momentarily charming about the chaos PressPlaySTEF inserted into the situation. However, I must say that what she did was extremely selfish and disrespectful. Stefanie is a talented performer, as we saw when she read a tiny story at the San Francisco show. But speaking as a performer myself, I can tell you I would NEVER do that to two other actors -- right when they're in the middle of a scene, to just interrupt like that? Also, think about the writer, rcjohnso, who clearly put a lot of work into constructing the piece such that one moment lead seamlessly to the next, building to a crescendo and conclusion. To interrupt his dialogue like that, on the one night the thing will ever be performed, it's horribly inconsiderate.
HitRECord shows are indeed about blurring boundaries between "audience" and "artist," but that sentiment only works as long as everybody in the room maintains an over-all respect for the show at large. In this case, PressPlaySTEF disregarded the good of the over-all show in favor of her own desire for the spotlight.
Now, when we gather at these shows, as I always say, we're not just playing records, we're making records together. We're not just some performers and a crowd; we're a collaborative production company. And as the director of this company, I can't allow a member of our community to so blatantly and intentionally undermine our production.
I can't have other RECorders watching footage of Stefanie's interruption and thinking to themselves, "hmm, look at all the attention she got, how can I interrupt the next hitRECord show and get some attention like that myself?" Pretty soon, we wouldn't be able to do theatrical performance bits like this, because people would always be trying to interrupt them.
So, we are deleting PressPlaySTEF's account and all of her records. I know this is a harsh punishment, and honestly, I don't love having to do it. But this is nothing personal against Stefanie. It's strictly professional. Keep in mind, hitRECord is a professional production company, and I hold us all to professional standards. For the good of our future shows and our company at large, I cannot allow that kind of counter-productive interruption.
Fortunately, we have plenty of great footage, and as the RECorder cinematic.audiophile already demonstrated with his excellent rough cut, we'll ultimately be able to seamlessly cut around the interruption and deliver a record of the scene intact.