Features Published 9 July 2015

Some Dude Did a Stupid Thing

Some slightly wired words about theatre and Twitter.
Natasha Tripney

Some dude did a stupid thing. Some dude did a stupid thing in a theatre in New York, which was probably the result of a bet or a dare or a desire to impress and/or embarrass someone he was with. Some dude did a stupid thing and the stupid thing he did was photographed by someone on their phone and the photograph they took was tweeted. Other people retweeted the tweets of the guy doing the stupid thing.

The response to the stupid thing that the man did was reported by websites which write about things that people do, some stupid, some not.  These websites reposted the tweets the people tweeted about the stupid thing. People commented on the articles and the tweets. They commented on the stupidity of the thing the man did, the stupidity of the man who did the thing, the stupidity of humans in general. They marvelled at it, they couldn’t get their head around it. Stupid man being stupid.

The actors in the show tweeted about the stupid thing. The theatre tweeted a photo of the company posing near the site where the stupid thing took place. There were hashtags about the stupid thing. There was a wry Instagram. Stories about the stupid thing were shared and discussed on Facebook. People laughed at the stupid man. The stupid young American man and his stupidity.

Other people used the fact that one man did a stupid thing in a theatre on one night in New York to comment on the erosion of theatre etiquette, the decline in audience standards, the collapse of all that is holy and good in the world. They used the word bonehead. They used the word bozo. They used the word moron. A lot. The words ‘theatre charter’ were mentioned. Again.

American newspapers reported the fact that some dude in a theatre did a stupid thing. British newspapers also posted stories about the stupid thing the man did. Many of these newspapers incorporated the tweets that the people had tweeted about the stupid thing into their stories. They inserted some words above and between the tweets. They all used the same grainy photograph. At least one of the headlines suggested this grainy photograph and the words that went with it would be ‘shocking’.  There were exclamation marks. Somewhere a journalist is probably already pitching a piece about how this stupid thing that happened is somehow testament to the fact that all theatre is hateful and pointless and stupid and this is something they are reminded of every single fucking time they go to the theatre.

Then a video was released of the man doing the stupid thing. A ten second video of man doing a stupid thing shot from a distance on another phone. Twitter rejoiced. They rejoiced at the fact that they could now finally watch the stupid moment the man did the thing with their eyes. The stupid thing he did. Some people suggested the stupid thing might actually have been a smart thing done to get a lot more people talking and tweeting about a show in New York. One of the British newspapers even ran a piece talking about how the stupid thing is actually good for theatre because people who would not normally be talking about theatre are now talking about theatre.

And, then, somewhere in London an overtired editor wrote a stupid piece about stupidity and Twitter and theatre and then went off in search of a gin.

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Natasha Tripney

Natasha founded Exeunt with Daniel B. Yates in 2011 and remains responsible for the overall editorial management of the site. Since March 2015, she's been joint lead critic for The Stage, along with Mark Shenton. She has also contributed to Time Out, the Guardian online, The Space, and The Independent, and she reviews books for The Observer. An occasional writer of fiction, one of her stories was shortlisted for the 2010 Bristol Short Story Prize.

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