Rihanna criticised for texting during Broadway show 'Slave Play' (Getty)
Rihanna criticised for texting during Broadway show 'Slave Play' (Getty)

Rihanna criticised for texting during Broadway play

Playwright defended the singer's behaviour: 'I'm more interested in theatre evolving and maybe phones are part of that evolution?'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 17 September 2019 18:02

Rihanna is facing criticism for texting during a Broadway play, after the playwright revealed the singer had messaged him during the show.

Over the weekend, Rihanna went to see a performance of Slave Play in New York City, where she later posed with the cast.

However, following the play, playwright Jeremy O Harris wrote about the experience on Twitter, revealing that the singer had texted him to tell him she was running late, and again during the show.

Harris wrote: “Two things I learned today about the type of theatre maker I am: When my idol texts that she’s running late. I hold the curtain for her.

“When my idol texts me during a play I’ve written, I respond.”

In response to the tweet, people have criticised both Rihanna, for arriving late and texting during a play, and Harris, for condoning the behaviour.

“This is really rude to the rest of your audience and your colleagues,” one person responded.

Another said: “So I take it if I decided to shoot some texts when I see Slave Play in a few weeks, I won’t be getting a flashlight in my face from an usher? This is stupid. I don’t care who you are, you don’t text during a play or a movie. It’s disrespectful and you condoning it is ridiculous.”

Others who were in the audience confirmed that the Diamonds singer used her phone during the performance.

The 30-year-old has since defended himself and the singer, explaining that he is “not interested in policing” how someone watches theatre.

“I’m not interested in policing anyone’s relationship to watching a play ESPECIALLY someone who isn’t part of the regular theatre-going crowd,” Harris wrote, adding that he is “famously ambivalent about phone use in theatre”.

The playwright also explained his decision to delay the play until Rihanna arrived, writing: “To dead this weird discourse that has popped up… The patron saint of the play I wrote is literally a pop star, fashion icon, and Demi-goddess named Rihanna. Her words are all over it. She’s a ninth character in the play.

“When Dionysus is coming you hold the curtain.”

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Harris summed up his thoughts on theatre protocol by explaining on Twitter that there is “no right or wrong way to watch the theatre”.

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