“Switch Off Your Mobile Phones” No More?

Posted on Mar 29th, 2012 by Shuchi in Theatre Trivia

Tweet Seat in Theatre 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.

Some Questions

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?

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Article by Shuchi

Shuchi lives in Bangalore (mostly), when she isn't traveling out of town for work. She adores theatre and writes about plays she watches whenever she gets a chance.
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5 Comments to ““Switch Off Your Mobile Phones” No More?”

  1. This is amazing..no, I wouldn’t tweet during a theatre performance, but then I’m not known for my love of technology :).Anyway I think I wouldn’t be able to absorb the experience fully if I were examining a gadget constantly.This gives me an idea though..I’m just about to go give a presentation..wouldn’t it be fun if my listeners and I kept exchanging live tweets through the presentation 🙂

    March 30th, 2012 9:37 am

  2. I doubt if the usage of mobile can be restricted for tweeting only. But if it can be done, I would definitely like to use it to know more about the show but not read live opinions as it might influence my perspective.

    March 30th, 2012 12:55 pm

  3. Thanks for your views, Brishti and Sreekanth.

    I’m not for live-tweeting a performance at all. I would like to have my full concentration on the show and I don’t think I can manage that if I’m tweeting at the same time.

    Nor do I enjoy reading live tweets of someone else watching a show. Live-tweeting seems to be all the rage in filmdom nowadays – film reviewers declare a film “boring” within 15 minutes of first-day first-show, the tweets go viral and before you know it the film is branded a “flop” on twitter. Not fair, IMO.

    April 2nd, 2012 10:57 pm

  4. April 2nd, 2012 11:05 pm

  5. I really liked the end of this other article about audience members’ participation.This writer is funny, though I don’t agree with what he says about theatre and thirty year olds, for obvious reasons 😛

    April 3rd, 2012 2:59 pm

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