Aug 9, 2017

Ballet Manila is set to open their 22nd season this August with a brand new ballet adaptation of Ibong Adarna. Yes, I kind of wish this adaptation existed when I was still a high school sophomore. It would have probably helped me get higher marks in Filipino. The show is choreographed by Gerardo Francisco with internationally acclaimed theater actress and singer Gia Macuja Atchison as the voice of the mystical bird.

We will see other shows opening this month and in the last quarter of 2017, too. Ballet Philippines is opening their 48th season. We shall also see musicals like The West Side StorySound of Music, and Matilda. Concerts should be expected as well. With all these magnificent shows coming, how do you afford to watch all of them?

In Britain, the annual run of The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall has been a major highlight of their summer since 1895. The two-month long festival features both classical music and some pop performances.

The Proms is always packed. While many opt for the pricier and closer seat, but the cheapest tickets, priced at six pounds each, are said to give audiences the best experience. “The Proms have always been very democratic, because the people who stand in the arena have the best places in the hall, but they pay the least money,” Nicholas Kenyon tells New York Times.

Could cheap seats give you a better, if not the best view at other shows as well?

Dance
A dance concert, whether a classical ballet or a contemporary performance, is all about movement. In an article from the New York Times, critic Alastair Macaulay writes about the wonders of the back seat when watching ballet. According to him, staying at a farther location allows the viewer to see “dancers less well, their dancing better.” You may not recognize the face of a prima ballerina, but you can observe her form and movements better.

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This is also what Korea National Ballet’s Kim Hye-won recommends. “Ballet is a composite art and it is good to see the dancers with a view of the whole stage and the lighting and seats around row 10 are the best,” she tells Korea Times.

“Dancegoers in those remote seats do not behave as if the ballet is remote to them; they’re often the most attentive section of the theater. And make no mistake: Often, theirs is the best view in the house,” Macaulay ends.

Musical showcase
While getting the cheapest ticket for dance is easily justified by the better view of movements, music is somewhat more complicated. To begin with, the sound of music in a concert hall may vary depending on the architectural acoustics of the venue.

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“It’s an impossible question; every bit as impossible as what’s the best dessert or the best color for a car,” Michael Dervan writes in article from Irish Times. According to him, choosing a seat in a concert depends on what you want to see and experience. A seat closer to the stage gives the audience a more powerful connection with the performers, while a seat farther from the stage allows the audience to see the full layout of performers onstage.

But as mentioned earlier, the sound may vary depending on the venue. The best way to determine the best seat for you is to find it out yourself.

Play
We all know that taking the front seat in the cinemas is not a great idea. You look up until your neck turns sore by the end of the movie. You might think that this is also the case when viewing a theater play, but this somewhat gives the audience the power of a close-up.

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However, a few rows away from the front can give the audience a better view. While the expressions on the faces of the actors remain visible, sitting farther back can give a panoramic view of what happens on the entire stage. A seat at the back, however, may not be the best for these kinds of shows.

In the end, the best seat to a show boils down to personal preferences. A place at the farthest area of a theater can be great, but who wouldn’t want to see Harry Styles up close and even touch his lovely locks, right?

Header photo courtesy of Unsplash

Read more:
Remembering the Manila Metropolitan Theater
The agony and ecstasy of being a ballet dancer
Why do local films flop?

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