The standard injunction at any theatre space – "switch off your mobile phone" – may be going out of fashion.
In a nod to our increasingly digitalized lives, theatres overseas have brought in the concept of "tweet seats" – seats in theaters that are set aside for people who want to live-tweet a performance. The LA Times blog reports:
Tweet seats first started surfacing at the end of the ’00s. In 2009, the Lyric Opera in Kansas reserved 100 tweet seats for its final performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "HMS Pinafore." In those seats (and only those seats) audience members could use their phones to look at tweeted content sent by the theater’s artistic director about the production, the scenery and whatever was happening on stage. Audience members were also encouraged to tweet questions in real time.
Read the full piece here .
If the idea of the audience live-tweeting during a performance is hard for you to digest, brace yourself for this – an actor live-tweeting during a performance. Says Kate Foy, Australian theatre actor who live-tweeted during her 2011 play that she began on impulse just before going onstage on the opening night. She was naturally asked how it was possible for her to tweet during the performance. Her response:
The answer is ‘Very simply when you’re armed with a smart phone and choose your moments.’ And no, I did not actually tweet on stage! Yes, Virginia, there are limits.
Do you think live-tweeting during a show could mess with the actor’s concentration? If yes, welcome to the minority. Read Kate Foy’s experience with live-tweeting and the feedback she received, on Groundling.
Theatre-watchers: If you’re given the liberty to use your cell phones for tweeting, would you do it?
Theatre-practitioners: If the annoyance to the rest of the audience wasn’t a concern, would you welcome the idea of audience live-tweeting? Would you live-tweet your own performance? Set aside the distraction of it, isn’t the risk of immediate negative feedback intimidating?