Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.

Date: 2009 October

October 1, 2009, by

From a performance of “A Steady Rain”, a two-hander about down and dirty Chicago cops starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman that recently opened in NYC.

by Michael Wheeler 

The question of how to avoid the beeping and blinging of the proliferation of modern technology within the confines of a performance space continues to gain attention on the heels of two highly bankable stars wrestling with the problem. In a post inspired by the incident on the Time Out New York: Upstaged website, Helen Shaw calls for the use of French cellphone jamming technology in theatres.

Meanwhile, Toronto-based Theatre for Young Audiences company Classical Theatre Project (CTP), launched this video this week that will be projected on to a wall before each performance of Oedipus Rex at The Lower Ossington Theatre:

This turn off your cellphone (and Ipod) reminder video actually does double-duty, serving as an online media publicity tool for use on their website and on Facebook, which works just fine for CTP’s mostly-teen audience base.

Last year, Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) took this problem on by using the carrot instead of the stick: For every performance they had with no interruption by a cellphone, they donated $5 to the Actor’s Fund of Canada on behalf of that evening’s audience.

Listen to MTC head electrician Ben Ross explain the program on the radio through the MTC Facebook page by clicking here. 

What do you think the solution is? Should we jam the airwaves, make clever videos that are integrated with the production, or offer incentives? What about people who leave their phone on silent, but vibrate? What about on silent, but causes the display to light up like a flashlight? Or is this whole conversation entirely too stuffy and we should all just learn to relax and accept the occasional interuption?