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Ross: How to fix an audience that won’t put away its phones

Maybe it's time to accept that no one will put their phone away. unsplash-logoHanny Naibaho

It’s happened again – another fed-up actor snatches a cell phone.

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On October 1 at an off-Broadway performance of The Wrong Man starring Joshua Henry, Mr. Henry – while singing — righteously plucked the phone from the offender and sent it skating upstage as if he’d rehearsed it a hundred times.

Twitter of course lit up with outrage at the sacrilege, but let’s at least consider the circumstances.

This was one of those shows with select audience members seated on-stage, which is where this guy was. And when you score the on-stage seats, how can you not record that? There’s at least a thousand people who need to see that you scored on-stage seats!

Remember – it’s not just actors who have audiences now; all of us have audiences, and we are constantly in need of new material.

When you see your chihuahua attacking the springy door stop, do you not record that? It would be irresponsible!

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I realize it can be annoying in a theater, but you could monetize this. The phones are silent; they don’t need flash. Set up a photo section for people unable to control their need to document their lives, and charge a little extra. People Tweet it, and it’s free publicity for the show.

Although, I must say, I love the idea of actors just arbitrarily snatching personal possessions from people in the audience, so I think they should keep that part in.

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