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Articles: The Play's the Thing

Curtain & Man

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Hamlet at the Barbican Center, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This is a show that has been sold out for over a year. People are flying in from all over the world just to see this performance because they are huge fans of Benedict Cumberbatch, mostly from his work in Sherlock.

Me? I’m a bigger fan of Hamlet. After all, my degrees are in British Literature with a focus on the Renaissance Era, and Hamlet is my all-time favorite play. I know it inside and out. I’ve seen many adaptations and portrayals by some of the greatest actors of our time.

Before I saw Cumberbatch as Hamlet, I liked his work. Like most Americans, I was introduced to him because of Sherlock, and I’ve seen a few of his films since then. I recognized his talent, and I considered him a fine actor.

After Hamlet, my respect and admiration for him has grown exponentially.

His impeccable delivery and eloquent execution left me breathless. The emotional depths to which he delved required ardent focus, profound dedication, absolute courage, and extraordinary talent. His heartfelt performance touched my very soul, as he captured the essence of the melancholy Dane like no other I’ve seen. He must’ve been emotionally and physically exhausted after such an intense performance. I know I was. Exhilarated and exhausted all at once, humbled at being in such close proximity to creative genius. The remnants of which still heave my heart a week later.

I was able to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience because of technology. Last week I wrote an article called "Explore the Old World with New Technology," and today I am tooting the tech trombone once again.

Although I knew I’d be in London through the month of August, as I am every year, the show was already sold out by the time I heard about it. I had written it off as not possible, but after seeing a handwritten sign in Leicester Square about tickets for sale, I started to get my hopes up. The gentleman inside the ticket booth said they they were few and far between, but there were returns. They started at about £150 each, but they had already sold all they had for that day. I asked if I should just check back every days, and he said my best bet was to check out a site call, as it was similar to the US’s Craigslist.

Ahhhh. Technology.

After I passed by the absurd posts asking for £600 per ticket (honestly?!), I found a lonely post selling just one ticket for a mere £70 by a group whose one friend couldn’t make it. Great for me, since many selling a pair of tickets wouldn’t separate them, and I was going alone. Although I figured this ticket surely must be gone already, I still took a shot.

The post requested an email outlining why these people would want to go to the theatre with me. Since I’m a writer, I had no trouble writing an articulate email. I told them about my background in teaching British Lit in college, as well as some of my accomplishments in the publishing and film industries. I told them I knew how to behave in the theatre, a skill fewer and fewer seem to have these days. After I pressed send, I knew I had little chance to be picked, as they were likely getting hundreds of queries, so it was akin to winning the lottery.

But they loved me! They were also English teachers, so they liked my letter. They also found my history fascinating, so they invited me to dinner beforehand, during which we got to know each other better. They told me how they were HUGE Cumberbatch fans, and how they started planning a trip to London over a year ago just to see this show.

Thanks to the internet and social media, they found out through their Cumberbatch Facebook Group that he was going to star in Hamlet two years ago. She became a member of the Barbican for £100 from across the Atlantic. This membership gave her the opportunity to get tickets before the Barbican released them to the general public. She queued online when the desired tickets went on sale, and when her turn came, she was ready with plastic in hand. From the other side of the planet, she ordered tickets to the most coveted show in the largest performing arts center in Europe.

Phones Across the World

Technology is terrific. The internet is fantastic. These things bring people together from all corners of the world. Two women in Germany can connect with two more in San Diego who can find an anglophile scrounging for a last-minute ticket, all because of technology. The five of us have new friends because of technology. We all enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience from the fourth row, watching the greatest play ever written performed by one of the most extraordinary actors of our time, because of technology. We took pictures with incredible, renown artists using our iPhones and posted them all over social media, much to the extreme envy of our friends. All because of technology.

We are connected in ways we never could’ve been even a decade ago. We’re able to experience the world and each other in an entirely new way. We can keep in touch with old friends and meet new ones. We can find others of similar interests and experiences. We can discover new cultures, speak new languages, and explore new places without getting lost.

If that weren’t enough, here is another benefit of technology: you can experience the brilliance of Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Hamlet in a cinema near you! Thanks to National Theatre Live, you can see exactly what I’m talking about without traveling around the world. Check out National Theatre Live for showing of Hamlet starting in October (I already have tickets for two different showings in PDX), and get tickets quickly! Those are selling out, too.

We can do all this because of technology, and Apple, as always, is at the forefront.


ChristineChristine is a Technical Support Specialist and Content Writer for PowerMax. Follow her articles as she takes you “Behind the Sasquatch: A Look Inside PowerMax,” an inside look at the day-to-day operations from the perspective of a Woman in Tech. She’ll also post great Tech Tips, helping you get the most of your Mac apps as well as write about some common technical issues and how to fix them. Finally, Christine will periodically post some Tutorials that teach readers how to do things like make podcasts and iPhone apps. Find what you’re looking for in the categories on the right. 

If you have a tech question or issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine for help.

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