March 1, 2007 / 5:24 PM / in 11 years

Sssh!! Russia's oldest theater hushes mobile phones

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s oldest theater has installed equipment to block mobile phone signals in a desperate attempt to force patrons to stop taking calls during performances, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Thursday.

Plays, operas, ballets and films in Russia are routinely punctuated by the trilling of mobile phones and many patrons are unashamed about chatting in defiance of terse warnings to turn phones off at the start of the evening.

“Although the technology is rather expensive, our theater accepted the costs in order to protect the artists from unpleasant surprises,” said Alexander Chepurov of St Petersburg’s Alexandrinsky theater, which was founded in 1756.

He said one actor had been forced to deal with “noises off” the only way he could, declaiming: “Turn off that stupid phone and let me finish my soliloquy!”

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