Benedict Cumberbatch is urging fans to stop photographing and recording videos during his performances of “Hamlet” at the Barbican theater in London — and ironically, he’s using fans’ videos to do it.
After having several performances disrupted by the distraction of being recorded, the “Sherlock” thesp came to the stage door to make a plea to his adoring public. “All these cameras, all these phones, everyone filming me, can you put this to good use?” he asked. “I don’t use social media, and I would really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the s–t out of this one for me.”
He added, “it’s mortifying,” referring to his experience seeing a “little red light” in about the third row during the evening’s performance, which took him out of character. “And there’s nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor, being on stage experiencing that.”
The actor said he even had to restart the famous soliloquy which begins “To be or not to be” because he was so distracted. He went on, “And I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a live performance which you will hopefully remember in your minds and brains, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, rather than on your phones.”
Cumberbatch’s comments are the latest pertaining to the theater world’s war on cell phones. On July 2, during a performance of “Hand to God” on Broadway, a 19-year-old tried to plug his phone into a fake outlet that was part of the set. He later admitted he was intoxicated.
Patti LuPone has also been outspoken about her distaste for electronic devices. “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,” she said following an incident on July 8 when she grabbed a phone away from a texting audience-member during a performance of the Off Broadway comedy “Shows for Days.”
Cumberbatch said the theater would have devices ready on Monday that would detect phones, in order to evict audience members who use them. “I don’t want that to happen,” the actor said. “That’s a horrible way to police what’s a wonderful thing.”
Watch Cumberbatch’s message to fans below: