by Matt Raudsepp of Matt and Kyle and Matt
Give someone near you the middle finger
We've all been there before... you arrive at the theatre and run into that acquaintance you secretly despise. You're forced to be pleasant with them before the show begins, making small talk, secretly interior monologuing pure hatred and anger at your misfortune. Well, when the house opens, mark where your "friend" sits down. At the first blackout, stand up in your seat and violently flip the bird at your unassuming target. Do it stealthily and silently, but extremely forcefully for maximum enjoyment.
Use peripheral vision to catch actors breaking their freeze
Actors are lazy. During a blackout in which they are frozen, they can't wait to break free and exit the stage. Actors often miscalculate and break their freeze prior to total darkness. If you stay focused on the actors as the light fades, you'll miss it. But, if you dart your eyes around during the fadeout, using your peripheral vision, you'll adjust more rapidly to the lack of light and be able to see actors breaking character and mouthing/speaking to each other, things like: "I nailed that one, Stan" or "You skipped my line, Uta".
Reflect on the previous scene
Blackouts are a perfect opportunity to reflect on the previous scene. In the complete darkness, surrounded by strangers, whose mind doesn't wander to the action of the play? ...As opposed to the germs being sneezed at you, the dangerous lights hanging overhead, the cramp in your leg, the crackle in the left speaker, the strong smell of perfume in front of you, every noise you make, every noise everyone else makes, what time the last metro leaves at, whether you eat enough seafood, or too much seafood.
Predict what the next scene will be
Similar to the previous point, it's fun to imagine what will come next. Unfortunately, you've read the entire playbill and program, all the director's notes, and "words from the playwright"... you know that next scene takes place on "a southern veranda in 1938 just before sunrise" and that the only character you haven't seen yet is the milkman. Guess what, the milkman is in this scene, the last scene of the play. And guess what else? He's everyone's dad. Theatre!
Because you know exactly what's about to happen and you've peripherally noted that the actors are worried about the last scene not having been "rehearsed enough", and because you're worried your "friend" saw you give him/her the finger, and because you need to do some groceries and buy a salmon, your only choice is to skedaddle. So, take your exit during the blackout. And don't ever look back.