OT: Benedict Cumberbatch asks fans not to record Hamlet

I wonder why he thinks he is responsible for how audience members behave.

~ by Servetus on August 9, 2015.

28 Responses to “OT: Benedict Cumberbatch asks fans not to record Hamlet”

  1. Maybe he doesn’t, but he knows that an appeal by him will be most effective? Or more effective than a note pushed out by the Barbican??

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    • I thought this was kind of condescending, but whatever, it’s his life. The only thing that will stop people from doing this is ushers who have the power to eject (and as he noted, they’re getting them next week).

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      • Hm, don’t know. Didn’t appear condescending to me. He could’ve been much more angry and scathing. I thought that appeal worked very well. In a way, however, it reminds me of our fan policing discussions. I think people will enforce this among themselves – for better or worse.

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        • “your funny electronic things”? I thought that was pretty ridiculous, as if they were beneath his notice, even while he was asking them to use them on his behalf.

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          • I thought that was quite an amusing way of putting it… But I can see where you are coming from. Especially when spoken by a guy who has a background in an elitist public school… Well you know me. Always giving the benefit of the doubt.

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            • it’s not that I don’t give people the benefit of the doubt, it’s that I’m a pragmatist. I will take off a few points for the fact that his accent is of the sort that automatically triggers my “snotty Brit” prejudices from childhood the most. That said, this can also be understood as CYA. The Barbican is about to take steps to stop videorecording; he has to be in favor of that, but he also gets behind it rhetorically so there isn’t some kind of backlash against the theater and/or saying that the theater is going to do it while he acts so apologetic makes him look not responsible for something he wants to happen.

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  2. Suddenly I am reminded of an incident on one of the stages of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival several years ago.

    A group of students from a private school in a neighboring county were attending a matinee performance of one of the plays and they were talking, tossing things at the stage, and generally behaving badly. They stopped the performance, with one of the actors giving them a lecture, after which they were booted out and asked not to come back. So Benedict, it could be worse! 😉

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    • yeesh.

      There was an incident last summer when someone in the front row of The Crucible was either texting or talking on the phone or something and one of the actors responded to them — Danforth, maybe?

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      • I do vaguely remember that happening re The Crucible.  I mean, if you are on the front row with the actors mere feet away from you, it would seem rather bad form to me to be talking/texting right in front of them. Then again, I have covered too many public events over the years  where some people in the audience seemed to have come down with a  bad case of “I’m talking/texting/laughing out loud and I can’t stop” right through prayers, speeches, solos, dramatic performances . . . I don’t quite understand the sense of entitlement and/or complete lack of concern for other people that leads to that.

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  3. BTW, I would have been completely mortified if I’d been the accompanying teacher of those students. Let’s just cement the image of the dumb southern redneck into place, shall we? sigh

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  4. I don’t think he feels responsible for the behavior of audience members – he feels responsible to his cast – admirably so in my opinion – as the leader and star of the production – for their (and his own) safety and to allow his cast to do the work they have rehearsed, for the benefit of (non-recording) members of the paying audience. It is ignorant and insufferably rude for anyone attending a live performance to ignore all the warnings and notices and start recording or taking photos. As a frequent theatre goer (NYC) I can attest to how often it happens (in addition to people texting and allowing their phones to ring), and the people doing it seem to have no thought whatsoever that live theatre is a shared, once in a life-time experience and that they are NOT in the privacy of their own homes. It is illegal in a Broadway house – ushers will confiscate phone/cameras and/or eject offenders – and it is dangerous and distracting for the actors. There have been several publicized incidents recently (Patti Lupone). I applaud Mr. Cumberbatch for his message, and found his delivery respectful and sincere. I doubt it will do much good, but I think he is 100% justified in saying what he said.

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    • Just so we’re clear — you raise issues that we’re not in disagreement about and which I neither raised nor questioned in the post. I am not defending bad or dangerous behavior in theatres, nor I am questioning that he has the right say what he said. In fact, he can say whatever he likes about anything and because he is a powerful person, what he said will matter to at least some people, although not all. I find his language in this message questionable because it points to a particular attitude on his part. If he had said, don’t do this because you are endangering us, that would be one thing, but in fact, I don’t believe he said that. He said, “it’s mortifying.” Maybe it is mortifying for him — I don’t question that he also has a right to his feelings, whatever they are — but if it is, he should ask himself if that doesn’t say something about him. IMO it does.

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  5. very confident…almost full of himself

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    • I was sort of relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one who saw it way. Actually, my reaction was sort of mild compared to the people who were saying essentially that this was BC pointing out what a special snowflake he is …

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      • Yes:). i don’t care about that too… But he really looks like ” I was born to be here. I’m a star ,you are nameless and not very smart;) crowd”

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  6. My memories of last summer at the Crucible are indelible in so much if someone even reached for the recorder or screenshot button it was pounced on by the ushers. However Cumberbach has again managed to turn it to his advantage for publicity he was on every news station and newspaper pushing this point.
    Perhaps our man would have given himself more publicity doing this? No come to think of it it’s not his style to use his audience in this way. I don’t condone that behaviour in theatre but it should be managed by the theatres not the stars as it comes across as self serving Wow is me…..

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  7. http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/arts-entertainment/cumberbatch-urges-theatre-goers-to-appreciate-how-fking-special-he-is-20150810100958

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  8. Cumberbach is a precious Luvie whilst Armitage is lovely and precious subtle difference!

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  9. well, everyone has his/her preferences 🙂

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  10. Well i saw the same thing happen during the Crucible too, and it bothered me loads. I can imagine how horrible it is for the actors because in the audience at least we can ignore the ones behind us as long as they don’t make too much noise but the actors see much more. It is just his way of trying to make people understand how disturbing it is and trying to get more help with stopping it before it gets to usher intervention which only ends up being twice as disturbing. They had several problems with the set that day and it has been stressful enough with the press transforming it into a circus. People express themselves differently according to their personality, education, ways of speaking. His intention was to ask people to please stop it as it disturbs the actors and influences their performance negatively. The same evening he had had to beg for the audience understanding in the name of the cast because they were having significant set problems stopping the performance and starting again, etc. I do believe he was very honest in saying he does want to do his very best and things like that are an additional disturbing factor. He was not exaggerating when he was saying they had a hell of a week. It is hard for anyone not in London and living this at the moment to imagine what kind of a mad circus has been made of what should be theatre performances. I was there on that particular Saturday and have been faced with the constant press coverage of it wherever i turn and i am not even searching for it. It has driven me to exasperation and i haven’t even been to see the show yet. I fully support what he said and it is not the fans doing it and he is asking fans’ help to try and stop it. Fans are generally very unlikely to exhibit such disturbing behaviours as they are there to absorb it with all their sense and don’t want such distractions themselves. I think he understands that too.
    I don’t think he’s conveyed his message in a an inadequate way.
    McAvoy stopped a disturbance like that in its very tracks going full bloody Macbeth on the culprit a year ago:-) Needless to say it never happened again during the entire run 🙂 And i fully support that taking of stance too.
    Same thing, just different temperaments, ways of expressing themselves, both in the right as far as i can tell.

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    • I don’t believe I said he was wrong to request what he requested, nor did I question his right to say this (or indeed, anything else he likes) or behave as he wishes to behave; I pointed out that the way he requested it says something about him. In my case, this happens to shed light on something I don’t like about him, have never liked about him. If it’s in fact the case that it’s not fans who are doing these things, then he was preaching to the choir, which lowers my estimation of him yet further. However, these things can legitimately coexist; Benedict Cumberbatch can have a right to speak, behave, and make requests as he pleases and I can react in the way I react to him.

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      • fair enough 🙂 although i also wanted to give a different perception in trying to say that i think sometimes people misunderstand his intention because of what they perceive to be tone/way of expressing himself. In any case i am lenient because given all that is happening he has shown restraint and probably great control of temper. But, we’ll just agree to disagree on Batchy 😉

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        • aren’t both of those things legitimate, both intention (although strictly speaking, as a postmodernist I’m suspicious about the knowability of that) and reception? I know what he could have said / how he could have said something to address the problem that would have made me applaud his tact and bravery. This wasn’t it. Although it would be fair to question if anything will ever turn off my instinctive negative reaction to the way that he speaks, which certainly colors my reaction to him.

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          • I don’t think he is being brave, i think he is stressed and under a level of pressure he has never experienced before and probably slightly emotional. I have no reason to judge him by anything other than direct interaction with people which i have witnessed. The way people speak is not something that i let myself be influenced by because i have been misjudged on that account at least half of my life and know exactly how that feels like.

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            • It happens to everyone (including me); that doesn’t mean that such judgments aren’t legitimate, though. It is a factor in human communication. I certainly do it still, even in situations when I am saying to myself, don’t judge based on speech here — in fact, the very fact that I have to remind myself that I should not be doing it points to the fact that I am still doing it. I don’t think BC gets more protection from that basic problem than anyone else on the planet, myself.

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  11. To Linlou — your comment violates the comment policy regarding telling the blogger or commentator not to examine things too closely and I will not publish it. Please read the comments policy carefully before leaving another comment.

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