Pokemon Go to the Theatre!

Anything that gets teens up off the couch and away from the TV and static video games gets my vote. The recent articles and TV news stories about the launch of Pokemon Go® have recounted both the pros and cons of the experiences of countless downloaders of the game. Some of them include:
Pros: Means of meeting others, getting exercise, participating in flash mobs of Go hunters

Cons: Almost walking into traffic, awkward intrusions into public spaces, such as police stations, etc., causing disruptions to work environments; gruesome discoveries, such as the teen who discovered a dead body in a river in Wyoming; and armed robbers using the app to lure victims to isolated locations to steal their cell phones from them.

One twitter wit encouraged the app to hide some Pokemon characters at the polls in November. In fact, in the first week of the launch, there have been more than 6 million tweets about the game.

Yesterday morning, I received an email from one of the Production Managers in the Production Manager’s Forum about a swarm of players intruding on his theatre’s lobby during a show. I sent the email on to our Associate Dean of Communications, Delphine, to ask her if it was something we should be concerned about in our four theatre spaces at USC School of Dramatic Arts.

A few hours later, from my office at the Scene Dock Theatre, at lunch time, I heard the familiar voices of my colleagues Ramon, Isaac and Helga. Since few people visit me in the summer, I greeted them and discovered that they were playing GO, looking for creatures that might be lurking in our theatres. They had found one in the vicinity of the Bing Theatre, and were hoping to get a photo for the SDA Instagram account.

The Production Manager in me (and this is evident even above in the marked weighting of cons to pros) is thinking of the game as disruptive technology. Disruptive to the fundamental act of an audience sharing the cocooned experience of seeing a play. But the younger members of our organization are thinking of it as a branding bonanza. And clearly they are the ones we should be listening, and corporate America is paying attention to.

Nevertheless, my mind goes to the additional announcement that our stage managers should be prepared to deliver in the event of a Live Pokemon Go Event during a rehearsal or performance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain calm while the Pokemon interlopers are captured. The performance will resume in…..

Here I’m stumped. How long does it take to capture the Pokemon creature? If there’s a mob of players, do we have to wait to resume until all of them have played it out? How long could that take, especially if there is a digital tourist like me fumbling with my  iPhone in their midst? Is there anyway to lure players to the box office just at 6:30 to increase our ticket sales? Hmm.

In the name of research, I may soon be downloading the app and taking a walk during lunch.

6 thoughts on “Pokemon Go to the Theatre!

  1. Maybe if we changed a few titles, it would bring in a whole new generation of theater goers: “Sunday in the park with Geodude” ” A Streetcar named Dragonair” or “Waiting for Golbat”

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