There’s a special circle of hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theatre.

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are currently starring in Waiting for Godot in London right now. When I found this out back in January, Jason and I actually looked up plane tickets to London. However, Stewart has found himself in a bit of controversy:

Actor Patrick Stewart apparently lost his rag with an autograph hunter outside the stage door of the King’s theatre in Edinburgh, after a performance of Waiting for Godot. “Are you the arsehole who was sitting in the front tonight?” was his introductory comment, before bellowing “You know, what I really want to know is how you can sleep at night? I really hope you’re pleased with yourself.”

Apparently, the importunate individual had been spied earlier by Stewart trying to take a sneaky photograph of him and his co-star, Ian McKellen, during the curtain call – in clear contravention of explicit warnings that photography was not permitted. While most punters will have gone to see Vladimir and Estragon, others are clearly there to gawp at Picard and Gandalf. (Michael Simkins, The Guardian, April 16, 2009)

While people’s opinions of whether or not his reaction was justified naturally differ, I’m inclined to agree that he had a beef that needed dealing with, but maybe he could have gone about it in a better way. The ensuing commentary dialogue on the Guardian website went off on a tangent about how rudely people behave in theatres. It did venture somewhat onto a nearly technophobish rant, with which I do empathize. This was my contribution:

It’s an interesting notion of “instant memories.” So much so that people seem to be viewing the world through their cameras rather than with their own eyes.

I’ve been to museums to see people moving from painting to painting and just taking pictures without even looking at the actual artwork — just the pixellated version. Strange! I was at a Glasvegas concert in Vancouver on Sunday and when I couldn’t see the stage, I could just watch it in one of the many screens those around me were using to record the show. I just don’t get it. Can you record memories of something you never *really* experienced?

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