Stepping out of the Stagedoor, a cheering crowd of fans under the night-sky of London, greeted Benedict Cumberbatch after a performance of “Hamlet” in which the “blindingly obvious” red lights of cameras couldn’t help but bother the actor.
Benedict Cumberbatch, a well-known British actor famous for his portrayal of the main character in the BBC drama, “Sherlock”, asked the swarm of fans outside of the Stagedoor to the Barbician theater in London, not to take videos of his performance as Hamlet, and to spread the message. During the performance, he said that he could see cameras and red lights from up on stage in the theater.
The actor described the issue as “mortifying” and that there was “nothing less supportive and enjoyable than being an actor on a stage experiencing that.”
He stated that in the third row somewhere in the theater, he could see a particular red light. Cumberbatch then spotted a camera video taping him, and pointed at it, using it as an example of showing what the red light looked like.
It is illegal to film in a theater in Britain or in New York. In New York, if one gets caught filming in by theater without permission, the punishment could be either time in jail, or a startling fine. The Playbill, a booklet one receives for free, made up of information for the particular show that the particular individual is seeing, has the New York State law, boldly printed. Of course, in other parts of the country, there are also laws against illegally filming in theaters, as well, including ones for movies.
Cumberbatch said that workers for the theater will be patrolling the auditorium more strictly, and will kindly kick out anybody that they see filming or photographing the show.
Now, some of you may think that the actor is a bit too uptight about the issue. Compared to Patti Lupone, however, the scowlings of Benedict Cumberbatch is nothing. Lupone is an American theater actress, who also fights the war-on-phones/cameras in the theater. Recently, in her play, “Shows for Days” she silently grabbed a cellphone out of the hands of an audience member, who was texting, during the show.
Back in 2009, Patti Lupone quite literally stopped the show, even, to excoriate an audience member who was snapping photographs of her performance. “Who do you thing you are!” She yelled.
There have also, recently been incidents on Broadway, in which members of the cast for a particular show mentioned or berated someone for performing an impolite activity during the performance. (For example, “Hamilton” in which Madonna was texting.)
“I am so defeated by this issue that I am seriously questioning whether I want to work onstage anymore,” said Patti Lupone, on the texting incident.
For Benedict Cumberbatch, he didn’t say whether or not he was contemplating persisting acting on stage anymore, but in a serious tone stated, that with people videotaping his performance, “I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a performance that will hopefully remain in your minds or brains.”