This is a direct response upon reading Ruth Jamieson’s article on Twitter and the Theatre over here on the Guardian Website Blogs. I’ve literally just stopped reading the article and can’t wait to even digest the ideas in it before I have to respond in writing this.
I was going to save the whole idea of Twitter, Theatre and the Beniefits for another time, but I am so fueled up to proclaim:
“NO, NO, NO!”
Should you be sending 140 characters to Twitter whilst you watch a piece of theatre: NO.
Should you even be using your phone in the theatre: NO.
Should you wait until the Interval or After the show…: YES.
If there was someone in the theatre who had more time to be on their phone ‘informing’ the world about the show they are seeing, then the play/show/theatre is obviously not worth seeing and they should remove themselves from the theatre immediately or they should wait until the interval and not return.
To watch theatre is to get lost in a world of life presented on stage. It’s often quirky, often bizarre, but completely captivating. We’ve all sat through a piece of theatre and wanted to leave, fall asleep, or be anywhere else apart from sitting watching this dribble. That doesn’t mean we must Tweet about it to our followers, stating how terrible the production is. Doing so is just as annoying as someone calling their friend on their mobile and discussing it in the middle of a show. It’s not right. It’s wrong. And it is RUDE.
I’m all for micro-reviewing on Twitter, I did so myself until I felt the need to expand my reviews into a full blog. I honestly believe that since I’ve started using Twitter as a way of communicating with fellow theatre enthusiaists that I have been introduced into a whole host of like-minded people who all share a passion for theatre. We discuss it, we criticise it, but we don’t go as far to disturb fellow real-life audience members with it.
I am young, I am all for new modern crazes, I was there for myspace, facebook, and now twitter, but there are limits to the ways we use these devices.
If people are waiting to hear your response to a piece of theatre they should see it with you, not be constantly refreashing their Twitter accounts to see if anyone has Tweeted about a show. I just can’t ever see a theatre show being that important that there are people literally hanging onto their Twitter accounts desperate to hear what you have to say.
My advice is simple:
Enjoy Twitter. Enjoy Theatre. Respond to theatre through Twitter. But not during a show.
Interval and After ONLY.