As you probably know, this happened.
I’m not going to go on about the fact that this isn’t really a notable event because Natasha Tripney exists, and she’s done that better than I could.
What I am going to do is outline why Plug Socket Guy (PSG) is awesome. It’s because:
1) He’s redefined immersive theatre
If you’ve ever, EVER described your theatre show as ‘immersive’ then you’re probably over-extending the truth anyway, but also you can step off PSG immediately because did your show have working plug sockets?
2) He’s shown a lot of us up as weirdly massive pricks
Let’s be honest, theatre is a niche interest, and actually laughing at people (in this case quite young people, possibly at the theatre on a rare occasion) who don’t understand our puffed-up etiquette is only going to make it nicher. If you think he was being sufficiently disrespectful to deserve it, I’d direct your attention the following points:
– The show hadn’t started.
– He was fundamentally putting his phone away and not intending to use it during the show. Like some dickheads tell people to do ALL. THE. TIME.
– Next time you make an unfortunate faux pas in a situation where you’re not familiar with ‘the rules’, I’ll get a couple of hundred people in a room, plus a sub-atomic amount of the internet, to laugh at you. Then I’ll moan about why you don’t come back again.
– Remember that actor who got straight-up blinded onstage because the Donmar screwed up? If you don’t, it’s probably because theatre is merciless towards its audiences but surprisingly soft and forgiving to its own institutions, even when they pull shit that is considerably fucking worse.
3) He’s shown just how outdated ‘pros-arch’ is
I’m going to put it out there that end-on pros-arch (i.e. proscenium arch, where the audience are all sat looking in the same-ish direction at the action on a raised stage) only continues to exist as a thing because West End theatres are so old they can’t be configured in any other way. How many theatres designed in the last 50 years have specifically had this in mind? I mean apart from hilariously shit ones that are basically lecture theatres which sometimes have panto in. Theatre as a massive wall-mounted TV with a strict entry policy is a dull idea for dull people. Some of the most interesting artists around are building their shows and performance around their audiences, and PSG shows us how important this is because…
4) He believed in the world of the show
I have no fucking idea who PSG even is, but if he’s the kind of guy who can feel comfortable enough in a theatre to plug his phone into a ‘non-existent’ power point, then he can come and see my shows all the time. Seriously. Don’t we all want an audience who are open-minded and accepting of the world before them? Who actually engage with it? PSG engages. He gets it.