There are two things you don’t do during a live theater production: (1) you don’t speak or clap until it’s over, unless it’s Cabaret or something along those lines and (2) you don’t pull out your phone — FOR ANY reason. It’s disrespectful to the people around you and the people on stage.
Unfortunately, it still happens and recently its been happening more and more frequently…
Last month some idiot, for lack of a better word, decided to text during a performance of Shows for Days starring Patti LuPone and the Broadway legend took matters into her own hands. Without breaking character Patti grabbed the patron’s cell phone mid-performance and took it back stage.
The next day Patti released a statement:
“We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else – the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.”
Last weekend on the West End in London something similar happened to Benedict Cumberbatch during his performance of Hamlet. A patron was on their phone either taking a photo or video — which is illegal in some, if not all, theaters — and after the show Benedict urged fans to him spread a “turn off your phones and cameras” in the theater message.
“Photographs outside are fine [but] I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. When we started again tonight at ‘To Be or Not To Be’, not the easiest place to start again, I could see a red light about the third row on the right. It’s mortifying, there’s nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor on stage to experience that, and I can’t give you what I want to give you which is a live performance that you will remember hopefully in your minds and brains whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, rather than on your phones, so please don’t.”
Listen to Benedict and put away your phones, people! If you can’t have it off for 90 minutes, 2 hours tops, then you shouldn’t go to a place that doesn’t allow use of them. Seriously.. Stop ruining the experience for those who paid good money and actually want to enjoy the show..