‘And you’re not gonna reach my telephone’

You’re not going to reach the telephones of audience members in theaters at OCU.

For some university theater officials, cell phones are prohibited in the theater for copyright reasons.

Audience members seeing productions of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management are subject to this rule.

“Cell phones with cameras are considered to be both cameras and video recorders and should not be used inside city theater in which we conduct rehearsals and performances,” according to the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management Standards and Procedures.

Dance department officials also said the policies are to promote common courtesy.

“The policies are to make the theater experience a more pleasant place for everyone,” said Angela Do, success coordinator of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management.

Other university theater officials said adhering to unspoken theater etiquette is more important than the potential of audience members “borrowing” staging and choreography.

“Well, I think cell phones are fine during a performance, said David Herendeen, interim director of the School of Theatre and director of opera and music theater. “Absolutely everybody should have a cell phone OFF during a performance.”

Cell phone etiquette in theaters has been a long-debated subject.

The National Association of Theater Owners requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allow the blocking of cell phone signals inside movie theaters in 2005, according to this story.

But times are changing and cell phone usage may soon be allowed in theaters on campus, at the discretion of the director. Technology-integrated performances may be in the works in the future for the university, according to Herendeen.He said he has thought about incorporating technology into performances like Washington and Lee University did in January. He is concerned about excluding audience members who do not own cell phones but thinks it could lead to a collaboration of ideas.

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The following are some excerpts from OCU’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management‘s Standards and Procedures regarding cell phone usage:

“Cell phones with cameras are considered to be both cameras and video recorders and should not be used inside any theater in which we conduct rehearsals or performances.”

“Students who purchase tickets for others shall be held responsible for the ticket users’ compliance with restrictions on unauthorized camera, photography and videotaping. In the event that a person sitting in a seat purchased by a major in Dance and Arts Management violates these restrictions, the purchaser shall be sanctioned by the school.”

“People who violate the “No Camera, no photography” rule will be barred from purchasing tickets for or attending subsequent Dance and Arts Management productions. Film, tape, or electronic memory media of unauthorized cameras or recorders in a theater may be confiscated, destroyed or erased.”

“Cell phones may not be used in restrooms, locker rooms or dressing rooms, or any space where dancers and performers are changing. For the purposes of this rule, all cell phones will be considered to have a camera with recording features, even if a cell phone in question does not.”

Photos in slideshow are courtesy of OCU Student Publications archives.

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Theater department to perform two R-rated shows

Adult themes and activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexuality-oriented nudity, and drug use. When the phrase “Rated R” is mentioned, thoughts like these may come to mind.

The School of Theatre is producing two rated R shows in March, according to the OCU School of Theatre Web Site. The plays are Lysistrata and The Angelina Project. The shows were given the rating to forewarn audience members.

“When you think of these ratings you think of movies and what makes a movie rating,” said David Herendeen, interim director of opera and music theater at Oklahoma City University. “It just doesn’t translate directly from the movie systems.
“What anybody trying to rate a play is trying to do with these rating systems is warn the public and give them as much as we can as easily as we can. The rating is a short hand that the content is powerful.”

The theater is a facility for education and sometimes the subject matter is tough, Herendeen said.

“I think a rating should make people think ‘Hmm I wonder why it’s rated this way,” and determine whether it’s something they’d feel comfortable with,” he said. “Everybody should go to the theater with a little bit of fore knowledge.
“Just because it’s a show doesn’t mean it’s going to be happy. We do this on purpose. We try to impact our audience with our performance.”

Lysistrata, produced in part with Oklahoma City Repertory Theater, portrays the ‘make love not war’ slogan of the 60’s. Though the play is about abstinence, it could potentially make audience members feel uncomfortable, Herendeen said.

The Angelina Project is rated R due to violence.

“It’s easy to shock people it is easy to make them feel uncomfortable,” he said. “We talk to our students a lot about this.
“You don’t teach anybody by pushing them past their comfort zone but to get to that edge of their comfort zone and earn their trust in a production that is the director’s job. I don’t think we have ever gone past that edge. We do want to warn people who have an edge that might be a little bit more delicate. It’s a buyer beware thing and I think we’re obligated to tell people about it.”

Lysistrata is showing at 8 p.m. on March 5, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on March 6 and at 2 p.m. on March 7 at The Little Freede Theater at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Click here or call 405-848-3761 for ticket information.

The Angelina Project is showing at 8 p.m. March 26, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 27, at 2 p.m. March 28, at 8 p.m. on April 9, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on April 10, and at 2 p.m. on April 11 at the Burg Theater in Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 405-848-3761.