Hadestown apologizes for the subtitle incident

of Broadway City of Hades apologized after an audience member was reprimanded by an actor who mistakenly thought their subtitle device was being used for recording.

In an emotional video posted on social media, audience member Samantha Coleman said she was called out “not once, but twice, for recording the performance” by Lillias White, who plays Hermes in the production. “He thought my subtitle device was a recording device,” explained Samantha.

“I don’t think this is inherently his malice, I think it’s a misunderstanding,” he continued. “My hearing is such that I need a subtitle device to see a show. And being publicly ostracized and ridiculed really hurts. It was super embarrassing.”

His account of watching the show went further viral on Twitter:

Today, an actor yelled at me multiple times in the middle of the show for recording a Broadway show, even when I wasn’t. I was using a subtitle device. My worst nightmare realized.

Twitter: @Samanth Coleman

Where sparked a discussion that audience control for recording devices should be left to the ushers rather than the cast, especially given the propensity of Broadway legend Patti Lupone to yell at audience members:

@SamanthColeman As a former Broadway usher, I’m horrified by this. This isn’t the job of actors, in the same way that an usher doesn’t just go up on stage and start dancing. As Front of House staff, we are trained in how to discreetly manage potential disturbances and identify accessible accommodations.

Twitter: @mikequitscommedia

@ lalalivy28 @SamanthColeman There is no training that will allow the actors on stage to spot and discern this. The only training you can give is to make it clear to the actors that it is not their responsibility to supervise the crowd for the recording devices.

Twitter: @chrisoconnoriv

@SamanthColeman Unpopular opinion: I love Patti but I leave the police at home. All you do when you stop the show out of self-righteousness is to disturb the entire audience rather than those who are annoyed by a device that an usher could deal with or worse a situation like this

Twitter: @tiny_tiziano

City of Hades subsequently issued an apology:

@SamanthColeman Thanks for connecting with us, Samantha. We are grateful for bringing this to our attention and are working with @Jujamcyn to review our internal policies and protocols to ensure this doesn’t happen again. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Twitter: @hadestown

@SamanthColeman @Jujamcyn We appreciate everyone’s feedback. For full disclosure, we connected privately with Samantha to sincerely apologize and remedy the situation, as we felt it was a better forum to handle this matter in a meaningful way.

Twitter: @hadestown

“Providing access also means educating everyone in the theater about how we can be more supportive,” a spokesperson for City of Hades added in a statement. “We are reviewing our internal policies and protocols to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Samantha later went on with a call to “stop harassing” Lillias about the incident:

Good afternoon! For me it is important to articulate: I ask you to extend kindness and forgiveness to Mrs. White. Her social media pages, especially Instagram, were flooded with ageist & racist comments. Please stop harassing her. (1/2)

Twitter: @Samanth Coleman

The theater that City of Hades is in provides I-Caption devices, which are basically small portable screens that show, text, dialogue and sound effects. Some programs also deliver subtitles via an app – unfortunately, this carries the risk that even more people will mistake using the phone for an illegal recording.

Hopefully this doesn’t happen again!

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