Find me a portable higher than normal chair sitting device!
September 16, 2006 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Standing Room Tickets: Find me a portable device that lets me stand (or sit at standing height) comfortably for 3 hours in the standing room area of an opera house.

Help me be cheap!

I am moving to Vienna, where I can see multiple operas a day if I so chose at $5/ticket for standing room tickets. However, I find standing very uncomfortable. Is there some sort of device that I could bring with that would support my weight with less effort and more comfort? (Like those canes with fold-down seats, but I dont know if they will put my torso high up enough in the air to see)
posted by anonymoose to Technology (11 answers total)
I doubt very much you'd be able to bring such a contraption into the opera house even if you found one. I'd say the cane/seat is your best option and even then you might want to check before laying out the cash for that.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:02 PM on September 16, 2006

This probably goes without saying, but the right shoes can make a huge difference. You may want to try one of the types of shoes favored by nurses and others who spend long hours on their feet. Doing so makes a huge difference for me when I stand for a performance.

I agree with FlamingBore that any sort of contraption is unlikely to be permitted.
posted by sueinnyc at 7:07 PM on September 16, 2006

There are some serious variants on those seat canes - try froogling "seat stick" - since some are designed for spectator events they might keep you high enough. Second the suggestion of a first rate pair of shoes.
posted by nanojath at 7:13 PM on September 16, 2006

These might work.
posted by Marky at 8:09 PM on September 16, 2006

How about a cane where the handle is more like a t-bar, so that you could sort of sit in the handle. It would require some balance, but it might be enough of a support to make standing reasonable, and minimal enough to pass by the ushers. If it were extendable, you could extend it to a height such that you could lean forward against it (like a bar) as well.

Doubt they sell anything like that, but I bet any metalworker could cob one together quickly and cheaply enough to use as a test-of-concept at least.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:39 PM on September 16, 2006

Sit on the handle. It's bedtime for Rock Steady.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:41 PM on September 16, 2006

I understand that Ethiopian Orthodox monks use a "makkwamya" (umlaut over the first "a") or "maqomyas" to stand through long services.

It's described as a "T" shaped crutch.

I think this is one pictured here.
posted by Jahaza at 12:37 AM on September 17, 2006

Either a single piece of anti fatigue matting, or what they call a "Shooting Stick" which is another name for one of those long poles with a fold out seat. Really good shoes is probably priority number one.
posted by tomble at 12:55 AM on September 17, 2006

If you get tickets for the floor level standing room area in the Staatsoper (excellent view), you'll have a handrail in front of you, and one behind you. The one in front of you is "yours", and you can lean up against it during the show.

The one behind you belongs to the people in the row behind you, but you can sometimes get lucky and lean up against it, too.

If you're in the back row of the aforementioned area, you can probably lean against the wall behind you. If you're along the side wall, you can lean against it. Main thing is, get there a bit early and figure out which place has the best combination of comfort and view.

For just a few more euros, you can get tickets for seats on the top level. The view can be pretty bad (so get your tickets early), but you will get to sit down, and you'll have your own personal subtitle device, if that interests you.

Beyound that, if you're a typical, somewhat sedentary American, you'll most likely be doing a lot more walking in Vienna, and you'll find that, within a few months, standing for 3 hours won't seem like that big of a deal.
posted by syzygy at 5:23 AM on September 17, 2006

Obvious point, but keep an eye out for free seats and just try nabbing one when the lights go down or at the interval.

If it's anything like London nobody does spot checks in the middle of a performance. If someone turns up just look aimiably stupid and retreat as quickly and quietly as possible.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:53 AM on September 17, 2006

I don't know what the Vienna standing room is like, but a general feature of that type of area is some sort of rail about 48" tall, expressly designed for leaning. The leaning will take a some of the pressure off your back by allowing a variety of standing positions.

In many standing areas (e.g., the Met) it is also possible to sit on the floor briefly during the duller bits of the opera. I did this when I stood there for the Ring cycle, and it does break up the monotony nicely. If you are in the rear rank of standing room (i.e., nobody behind you) it is sometimes possible to walk a few steps or lean against the back wall of the theater. I've done that at the Met too and nobody ever complains.

As TheophileEscargot pointed out, it is often possible to "nab" an empty seat. Here's my method: when the lights go up for the curtain call, look around you and see if you can find an empty seat or (ideally) a few empty seats together. You may find it useful to count how many seats in, how many rows forward, etc. As soon as the house lights go up for the interval, walk casually to the empty seat and sit there, reading your program. Stay there for at least 5 - 10 minutes. The theory here is that if the seat belongs to someone who arrived at the theater too late to be seated for the first act, he will certainly go directly to that seat during the interval. If someone does show up for the seat (this is rare), you simply say, "Oh, yes, you are correct, I thought this seat wasn't taken. I beg your pardon" and go back to standing. In most cases, though, nobody will show up during that first 10 minutes of interval, at which point you can drape your coat over the seat and go off to have a coffee or whatever. Nobody is going to steal a seat that has a coat already draped on it.
posted by La Cieca at 12:46 PM on September 17, 2006

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