The only problem was Grote didn’t know there would be a Tweet Up until he read about it online, like everybody else. And he wasn’t thrilled with the plan, as he expressed on Twitter: “I am frankly not crazy about this idea,” he wrote, followed by a link to the DCist post on the Tweet Up. He later added: “I understand both theater and Twitter pretty well, and I’m not comfortable with the idea. I should probably take it up with them.”
Which he did. “They were very apologetic,” he said. “And I was very forthcoming that I was unhappy with the way it had come out. I also made it clear that I wasn’t going to put a stop to it; that wasn’t my intention. But I also said, ‘I have to be honest that I’m not on board with this, and I’m not going to be silent about the fact that I don’t think it’s such a great idea.’ ”
Grote, an avid Twitter user (he has more than 1,500 followers), said he is not “categorically opposed to a live-tweeting theater,” rather that Woolly’s project “posed a fundamental misunderstanding of how Twitter works.” Tacking live-tweeting on as a component of a show at the end of the process doesn’t make sense, he said. “It needs to be integrated right from the conception. . . . [“Civilization”] is written in a style [that] requires a certain degree of listening and concentration.”
The potential problems with integrating Twitter and theater are obvious: It’s distracting and arguably unnecessary, and if one were to make a list of “incredibly annoying things,” people who use their phones in theaters would rank slightly above babies who cry on airplanes.
Miller said: “If we were to do the process over, we just would have brought him into the planning process earlier than we did. But what’s done is done. We take his reservations to heart, and at the same time, this is totally an experiment. . . . We definitely know it’s sort of a divided issue.”
Grote also tweeted that the Tweet Up didn’t bother him “as long as I don’t have to look at it. I might have to unfollow [Woolly] while it’s happening.”
“My initial impulse . . . was ‘I don’t want to know,’ ” he explained. “The relationship to the audience is very important to me. But sometimes I don’t really want to know people’s immediate impulses. Sometimes a good play will make you feel bad, and that’s okay. I wasn’t saying that I was going to unfollow Woolly out of spite.”
Woolly “has assured” him that they’ll moderate everything, though he’s skeptical of that, too: “The whole strength of something like Twitter is that it can’t be controlled, and I don’t think it should be.”