Besides the obvious, such as leaving your cell phones and hourly watch chimes on:
10. Crinkle wrappers for your contraband snacks, usually at the quietest moment in the show (henceforth referred to as the QMS).
9. Wait in the lobby until the absolute last minute before the intermission ends, then climb over and under peoples’ laps to get to your seats, usually during the critical moment just after the curtain rises. You people always tend to be sitting in the front row.
8. Talk loudly enough to be heard three rows away, again reserving your most “incisive” comments for the QMS. Trust me, if you were smart enough to say something interesting, you’d realize it was an inappropriate time to open your big fat trap.
7. Clatter an object to the floor at the QMS. Generally this would be something the other folks in the room — audience members, ushers, even performers on stage — couldn’t imagine ever bringing to the theater, such as a garage door opener or a frying pan.
6. Yell at your kids to be quiet, in a louder and whinier voice than the kids could ever hope to produce.
5. Hack and retch in a manner so dramatic that it would arouse significant notice in a pneumonia ward. Coughing in a theater inevitably crescendos at the QMS.
4. Snore. ‘Nuff said.
3. Sit and stare icily at those trying to get past you to their seats. “How DARE you attend the same show as me,” you seem to be saying to the rest of us. “And now you have the GALL to sit closer to the center than me? Look! Just look at how narrow these rows are! And don’t you dare bump into my knees as you walk by, even though there’s not a chance in hell I’ll stand up to let you pass.”
2. Violate the imaginary boundary of your seat. This includes flopping your expensive coat over the back of your chair into the exact spot where the person sitting behind you wants to put his feet, thus making him wish he was wearing his dirty construction boots so he could stomp all over your precious mink. Worst of all, of course, are the armrest-hoggers and the leg-spreaders. You know who you are: your body language suggests “isn’t it a shame these seats are so narrow?” I got news for you: they’re narrow for everyone, and now they’re even narrower for the people sitting on either side of you.
1. Sigh restlessly and constantly during each QM in the show, to indicate to your neighbors that this show is going on WAY too long and there several other places where you could imagine wasting your time to much better effect. Here’s what your neighbors are thinking: “You could have gone to one of those places. We wouldn’t have minded. In fact, you could leave right now and we wouldn’t be bothered by it. Just climb right out over our laps. We won’t complain, as long as YOU are gone.”