The iPhone and its Assault on Modern Theatre

I attended last night’s preview performance of Accent On Youth. During the first act, a familiar, pulsing radio signal could be heard on the sound system—a data transmission from someone’s iPhone.

All mobile phones are miniature radio broadcasting towers, but for whatever reason the iPhone does not play nicely with other electromagnetic equipment. Every time I walk near my boss’s “unshielded” computer speakers, they make audible the rapid, all-ships-at-sea signal from my phone.

I assumed the actors were to blame—someone text-messaged David Hyde Pierce and his body mic advertised that to the audience. But was he even wearing a body mic? It didn’t look that way, and the house isn’t so large that you’d need intense amplification for a mostly music-free play.

Then an announcement was made before the start of the second act: “Please make sure your phones are turned off. All the way off, not just to vibrate.” So they suspected an audience member to be the culprit! Perhaps those in the front row were close enough to the microphones to interfere?

Or was I the offender? I never turned my precious iPhone off, but I did switch it to “Airplane Mode”. That counts, right?

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