London unit forces way into the act

"But soft, What light through yonder window breaks?;

"But soft, What light through yonder window breaks?;

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!;
Take this Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen, before thou get burned."

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose;
By any other name would smell as sweet;
As Axe Brand Body Spray."

Welcome to the bold future of theater-going. If you liked it when they started showing endless strings of ads before movies, you're in for treat: promo spots have now hit the live stage.

This latest demolition of a sacred cow has been brought to you courtesy of Visit London. The tourism group has been sponsoring ads - acted out by live actors - before performances of the popular Stomp in New York, Pittsburgh, Dublin, and Hamburg.

In a moment of too much candor, Visit London's communications director told The New York Times that the rationale for bombarding theater-goers with ads was simple: "They're a captive audience."

It's hard to tell whether this development is more insulting to the theater, the actors, the audience, the playwrights, or just to universal karma. But Visit London made sure to promote the very fact that they were doing the ads, garnering media attention that far exceeded the bewildered crowds who had the misfortune to attend Stomp on that very day.

Shakespeare, we're afraid, might not be so pleased with his British brethren of today.

"Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified;
But ads at plays are dumb."

1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

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