Benedict Cumberbatch, who began performing in a London stage production of “Hamlet” last Wednesday, made a special plea to fans: Turn off your cellphones during the show.
In particular, the 39-year-old actor objected to theatergoers illegally recording his performance and distracting him on stage.
“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,” he told a crowd waiting outside the stage door of the Barbican Theatre Saturday night. “It’s mortifying, and there’s nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor being on stage experiencing that.”
He added, “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.”
The “Sherlock” star also issued a not-so-veiled threat: patrons who violated the cellphone ban would be evicted from future performances. Security staffers on Monday will begin deploying “devices” to detect the use of what he called “your funny electronic things.”
Cumberbatch has a huge and fiercely loyal online fan base and he sought to deploy them to encourage better behavior inside the theater.
“I don’t use social media and I’d really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the shit out of this one for me,” he said to appreciative laughter.
Cumberbatch’s 12-week run as Shakespeare’s melancholy Danish prince, which runs through Oct. 31, has long been sold out. But a filmed version, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and National Theatre Live, will be broadcast in movie theaters worldwide on Oct. 15.
Watch the video above.