• Benedict Cumberbatch Asks Fans To Stop Filming His Hamlet Performance

    Joahn Persson

    Joahn Persson

    Ah, phones. We are not fans of them here at UKTW. Well, not in the theatre, at least. We’ve blogged about this issue several times now, and we’ve also touched on Benedict Cumberbatch’s refusal to pander to the cult of celebrity by doing stage door appearances after his Hamlet run at the Barbican.

    The two have now collided in spectacular style, with the actor stopping briefly after a recent performance to beg fans not to film him while he’s on stage- especially during his “To be or not to be” speech. You know… the most important bit of the whole show.

    In this video, Cumberbatch can be heard asking fans to spread the word via social media, that filming in the theatre is a big NO. In fact, he calls it a “mortifying distraction” and says that there is “nothing less enjoyable or supportive as an actor on stage experiencing that.”

    Here’s the thing. As a regular theatre goer, I like to fully immerse myself in the action taking place on stage. Part of why I love live theatre so much, is because I can escape entirely into another world and forget all about outside distractions, including mobile devices. I don’t blame Cumberbatch one iota for his impassioned plea, but I am saddened that he needed to do this.

    What really angers me about the situation is that I am also reading that there are people out there who feel he has no right, as an actor, to dictate that others cannot film his performance. “What about those of us who couldn’t get tickets?” is the general outcry to justify the behaviour of the morons with phones. “What are we supposed to do?”

    Well, how about you take yourselves to watch it at the cinema when it’s broadcast live on the 15th October? How about watching it the legal way rather than relying on grainy, shaky fan filmed video footage which you know has been distracting for the actor on the stage?

    Just a thought.

    To revisit my previous post concerning Darren Criss’ run in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, there are now at least two (that I know of) bootleg performances of his run circulating the internet. Despite his Twitter pleas with fans not to watch or share these videos, they continue to do the rounds, both as entire performances and in gif form. Again, fans claim they are entitled to do this because they couldn’t afford to travel to NYC to watch the show live.

    I wonder, do they stop to think how upsetting this actually is for the actors concerned? How mortifying to know that after all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve poured into giving the performance of a lifetime, all you’re worth is a bad¬†quality audio and visual which gives a very poor representation of what the show was actually like.

    Please, respect the actors that you are supposedly fans of. Leave your phones in your bag, pocket, or wherever else you choose to keep them, for the duration of the show you are watching. Lose yourselves in the magic of live theatre. No amount of internet ‘fame’ for producing a bootleg, is ever going to be worth more than the opportunity to witness your favourite actor live on stage.

    Categories: Audiences, Theatre, Theatres

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