Benedict Cumberbatch is starring in Hamlet at London’s Barbican Centre for a few more weeks, but before he leaves, he wants to welcome you to a phoneless future. Why? The actor (understandably) isn’t a fan of staring at phones and cameras recording him from the audience while he’s trying to get his Shakespeare on.
Like a cool dad trying to coolly reprimand his children, Cumberbatch delivered a cool anti-phone message this weekend, and below is the bulk of it:
Can I ask you all a huge favor? I first want to say thank you to those of you who were here tonight. I really appreciate it — all this, all these cameras, all these phones, all you filming me. You put this to good use … but what I really want to do is try to enlist you. I don’t use social media, and I’d really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtagged the shit out of this one for me. … I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. And it may not be any of you here that did that, but it’s blindingly obvious … it’s very, very obvious. … It’s mortifying. There’s nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor being onstage and experiencing that. And I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a live performance that you’ll remember, hopefully in your minds and brains, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, rather than on your phones. So please don’t — and it will get strict from now on: They have devices coming in on Monday that will have people detected and evicted. I don’t want that to happen, because that’s a horrible way to have to police what’s a wonderful thing. So listen: This isn’t me blaming you, this is just me asking you to ripple it out there.