No bars at The Smith Center? (The cell-phone kind, we mean.)
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You’ve just settled into your seat inside the Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall. You’re excited -- you’re seeing Wicked! Naturally, you want to humblebrag to your online friends that you’re there.
So you whip out your camera phone -- “Here, hold my cocktail for a sec?” -- to take a picture of the stage so that you can post it on Facebook or Twitter and show everybody how good your seats are. You go to log into your account when … wait, what’s this? No Internet connection inside the theater?
It’s probably happened to you already.
So what’s up with that? Why no telephone reception inside the $450 million arts emporium?
We began our investigation with a pretty solid conspiracy theory: Clearly, Smith Center higher-ups installed some sort of magical innerwebs descrambling device that blocks one’s ability to connect to the Internet and, in doing so, prevents someone from busting out one’s cell phone during a performance to Tweet (gasp!) or Facebook (gasp!) or (gasp! gasp! gasp!) make a phone call. This isn't just my theory, either; several friends also wondered the same thing.
So, with our genius theory in hand, we asked the folks at the Smith Center, what gives? Why no telephone reception inside the theater? Are they protecting us from our inconsiderate, tech-addicted theater-going brethren who might even dare to think of interacting with their phone during a performance?
Turns out, the reason you can’t get connected inside Reynolds Hall is because of science. Specifically, acoustics. And huge slabs of concrete that block out external sounds -- and your phone's reception. (Fun fact: We're told the hall's acoustician was hired before the architect.)
Smith Center President and CEO Myron Martin weighs in: “We want all of our patrons to share their Smith Center experiences on Facebook and Twitter, just not during the performance. When designing Reynolds Hall, we aimed to create an unrivaled acoustic experience. Part of that includes the 12- to 36-inch concrete slabs that block out sounds by nearby trains and overhead noise which also makes cell phone usage inside a challenge."
Mystery solved. Not as sexy an explanation as a signal jammer, but it works for us. Enjoy the show, and Tweet about it later.