‘Turning mobiles off in a theatre is no longer necessary as using an App is now being made part of the on-stage performance.”
Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series ‘Breaking Bad’, gave an example on a recent episode of ‘The Graham Norton Show’ of how annoyed he was with an audience member using a mobile during his stage performance. His opinion is shared not only by other performers but also by audiences distracted by those who disrespectfully share their time between using their device and engaging with what is happening on stage.
For these reasons, nearly all theatres ask audiences to switch off their mobiles. Why then is a theatre company encouraging audiences to keep their mobiles on and use it during the performance of their new play?
2b Acting, a Yorkshire based digital media and theatre company, is asking the audience to use an In-View App on their mobile during their new play, ‘For the love of oranges’. Although the play is written to be enjoyed without the App by using it the audience can reveal added information to make more of what they see.
“The mobile has become an integral part of everyday life. Multi-tasking with it is now common place.”, says the play’s Director David Jones. “As a creative company, it makes sense, therefore, to include it in storytelling. Being able to extend the stage in this way is amazing and I am surprised by the level of objection being encountered as, if successful, it will open new creative and commercial possibilities. For this reason, I am very excited”.
Perhaps there is a method in this perceived madness as the idea does keep people’s mobiles occupied and their minds within the world of the performance. Also, the younger generation’s engagement with theatre, or the lack of it, will continue to force the industry to consider new ways of connecting.
This fusion of digital and live performance is not new as the industry has already seen use made of Augmented Reality and similar technologies. However, this method is perhaps the first to allow an audience to choose. Do you watch it with mobile on or with mobile off?
The public performance of the play is on the 10th November at Seven Arts Theatre, Chapel Allerton, Leeds.