Monday, June 22, 2009

Intermission: Cell Phones, Radio, and Theatre. Two of the three are telecomm, right?

(Way back in 2004, I ambitiously started a blog called Telecommedy with the intention of writing on it every day. I stopped writing there in 2005. C'est la guerre. In the interest of posterity and hubris, I am slowly moving those posts over here so that all of this inanity can be concentrated in a single forum and not pollute the internets any more than necessary.)

We pause from our regularly scheduled program to bring you this interesting and somewhat telecomm-related announcement.

While listening to the radio yesterday, we were mildly entertained by this segment on NPR's All Things Considered about cell phones in the theatre.

While we at Telecommedy encourage cell phone use (as well as normal phone use, long distance use, internet porn use, or anything else that keeps us in the business), we can understand the need to occasionally be out of touch with the outside world (kids, parents, spouses, boy/girlfriends, co-workers, or all of the above). We can also understand and have experienced the annoying spectable of a ringing cell phone with a volume level set to "seismic shock" going off during the climactic scene where the chainsaw maniac hiding in the retirement home is about to pounce on the nubile young heroine.

While the radio program had a few good examples of creative announcements that would encourage theatergoers to turn off their cell phones, our creative juices got flowing and (after using a mop to clean up a bit), we developed the following announcements in the same vein. Enjoy, plagiarize, or ignore - it's our free gift to you, our loyal reader(s).

Announcement #1

Announcer: [enters stage left] Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the East Bandera Public Theatre and Cattle Works. Before the show starts, I would like to make a few announcements. First, ...

[loud cell phone ringing interrupts announcer]

Theatregoer: [speaking in stage whisper into cell phone] Hey. [pause] No, I'm at the theatre, I can't talk. [pause] Nah, I'll probably leave at intermission or something.

Announcer: Excuse me sir. Is that your cell phone?

Theatregoer: Why yes. It is.

[Announcer pull gun from pocket and shoots theatregoer, who collapses. Stagehands enter and remove theatregoer.]

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your cell phones and pagers now. Thank you.

[Announcer exits]

Announcement #2

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, before the show begins tonight, we'd like to you all to participate in an exciting contest where you could win a valuable prize. First, I'd like you all to get out your cell phones and pagers. [pause] Everyone have theirs out now? Come on - it only works if everyone participates. [pause] OK, got them out? Good. Now, would you please hold up your cell phones and pagers as high as you can - high enough for us to see them from the stage. [pause] Great. That's perfect.

[Bright flash of light from the area of the stage]

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we now have you on film, and we know what seat you are sitting in. If a cell phone or pager goes off during this evening's performance, we will have no choice but to match the picture to a name and hunt you down. [pause for nervous laughter] So, while you have them out already, please turn off all cell phones and pagers. Thank you.

And now, on with the show

There are more to be written, but the telecomm business beckons and we have miles to write before we sleep or otherwise entertain ourselves horizontally (lying on a couch watching Spongebob, shame on your dirty mind). So until next time, keep those letters and emails coming.

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