Posted February 01, 2012

Most theater goers would say cell phones and theaters don’t mix.  In an recent incident in New York some weeks ago, Alan Gilbert stormed off the podium when someone’s “cha cha cha” ring tone went off as Gilbert was conducting Mahler.  Can you blame him?

However, in what seems to be an attempt to encourage the patronage the “young & connected” theater goers, cell phone use during performances is being encouraged.  Many theaters are setting aside seats where patrons can use the social networking application “Twitter” to provide a blow-by-blow commentary (Tweets) during the performance.  The list of theaters who are doing this is astonishing:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, Diablo Ballet, San Francisco’s City Lights Theatre are some.  Coming on heels of  the announcement that the Novartis Theater at Yerba Buena Center will allow food and drink inside while performances are in progress, the mind reels.     Contra Costa Times   New York Times

Many would agree with Lisa Mallette of City Lights: “Tweeting during a show is not as dangerous, certainly, as using the phone while driving, but it amounts to the same thing:  distracted viewing!”

Will we view performances of Lohengrin with a vendor roaming in the aisles shouting “Get your peanuts!”