Benedict Cumberbatch may have received feedback for his first week of Hamlet preview shows at the Barbican but there’s one thing he knows will improve his performance — and he needs the help of his audiences to make it happen.
After Saturday’s performance fans waiting at the theatre’s stage door were amazed and delighted when Cumberbatch appeared to thank them for their support. But that wasn’t all he wanted to say. He also appealed to the crowd not to film the performance, describing the experience of seeing “red lights in the auditorium” as “mortifying” and saying nothing was “less supportive” to him as an actor.
Revealing that he doesn’t use social media himself, Cumberbatch appealed to his fans to “tweet, blog, hashtag the sh*t” out of the play and to spread the message that filming his performance as the iconic Shakespearean prince on cameras and smartphones is strongly discouraged.
“I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a live performance that you will remember and hopefully in your minds and brains, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, rather than on your phones,” he said. “So please don’t.”
Video credit: kari100/YouTube
Cumberbatch also warned that strict new measures are going to be introduced at the Barbican, which could result in audience members caught filming the play being removed.
“I don’t want that to happen. That’s a horrible way to have to police what’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “So this isn’t me blaming you, this is me asking you to ripple it out there in the beautiful way you do with your funny electronic things.”
The opening performance of Lyndsey Turner’s production of Hamlet last Wednesday closed with a standing ovation and sent social media into a frenzy, with Twitter users describing Cumberbatch as “supreme” and “electrifying.”
Hamlet officially opens at the end of August; visit hamlet-barbican.com for ticket information and availability.