New York

Applause Pause?

by


Clap your hands, say yeah

An article in the New York Times some weeks ago chided American audiences for clapping at inappropriate moments, when a star walks on stage, for example, or after a particular set change. The British were applauded, on the other hand, for putting their hands together only at the end of the play. But now they may not get the chance to clap even then. A recent article in the Guardian, by expat Matt Wolf, describes how many a curtain call on the London stage cuts itself short, not allowing the audience time to applaud sufficiently.

While I’m not partial to the standing ovation, I like a curtain call, a good old-fashioned one, in which the policeman holds hands with the heroine, the nursemaid with the sea captain, and everyone smiles, allowing the various masks of character to fall away. Should we ensure the tradition’s preserved or can you make good without it?