Isaac Butler is on break from grad school, so he has time to do some blogging about theater. Today on Parabasis, he has a post “about ‘Tweet Seats,’ the absurd new phenomenon of theaters devoting certain seats on certain nights for people who want to tweet while watching their shows,” which he says is “an epic act of shooting oneself in the foot”:
Tweet Seats — particularly absent any real change in programming — is just empty, gimmicky bullshit. What’s more, it’s insulting, the way most condescending panders to demographic groups are insulting….Nothing reeks of out of touch old man stench like someone parading around how young and cool they’re trying to be….
I have a counter proposal for theaters trying out tweet seats: Why don’t you try to do a show where both the play and the production are of such quality that someone who is tempted by their phone will want to watch from start to finish without jumping on the internet?
I agree. I think I’d actually really love a theater piece that incorporated tweeting, but I think it would only work if the piece was specifically designed so that the tweeting was an integral part of the piece.
Otherwise, no tweet seats for me. Because, as Isaac says, “theatre that is not fully attended to cannot be fully appreciated, and…you can’t create that attention if you are stopping from watching the god damn show to look at your god damn phone.”