I saw this Pulitzer Prize winning play by Lynn Nottage on its closing night at the Nightwood Theatre in Toronto. The play about women in the Congo was phenomenal and intense.
I sat in the first row of the balcony and had a bird’s eye view of the stage but also the audience below. The playhouse was packed. It seemed like every seat was occupied and all audience members at attention.
All audience members, that is, except for two women in the second row (stage left). After the intermission they both pulled out their phones and started texting or tweeting. Either way, their participation in social media in the middle of this intense play was completely incomprehensible.
Both of them kept taking their phones out of their purses. One of them had this large purse and would send a message and then quickly return the phone into the large fold of her black purse, as if this would hide the act. At one point, one of their phones actually rang out in the middle of the play.
With each message they sent (between 10-20 each in the second half), they flashed those of us in the balcony with the bright light of their phones.
What a shame for those of us moved and touched by the actors on stage telling us stories of women raped and mutilated in the name of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Globe and Mail called it “an earthquake of acting that will shake you.”
What were they thinking? High quality theatre like this needs to be supported, respected and applauded in our city; we need more like it; it keeps audience members thinking and informed and it helps to keep a diverse set of Toronto actors with choice roles.
Check out this interview with playwright Lynn Nottage on Charlie Rose: