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Benedict Cumberbatch wants fans to put down their phones

Benedict Cumberbatch is begging theatergoers to stop using their phones during live performances.

The actor best known for his lead role in BBC hit "Sherlock" asked fans for a favor after a performance of "Hamlet" at the Barbican theater in London, reports the New York Times: "All of this, all these cameras, all these phones. What I really want to do is try to enlist you."

Cumberbatch, who performed over the weekend, had to stop during the famous Shakespearean soliloquy that starts with "To be or not to be" when he was distracted by a "little red light" in the audience from a phone.

"I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. And it may not be any of you here that did that but it's blindingly obvious, like that one there, that little red light," he said to throngs of fans outside the theater.

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Cumberbatch added that the theater would crack down on phone use and kick out theatergoers caught using them during the performance. He said," I don't want that to happen; that's a horrible way to have to police what is a wonderful thing," reports the Times.

It wasn't the first time Cumberbatch vocally bemoaned the use of phones during performances. He stopped during a live reading in April to ask people to stop taking photos of him with their phones.

Cumberbatch isn't the first theater actor to express indignation over phone use. Broadway great Patti LuPone made headlines in July when she snatched a phone out of an audience member's hand and walked off stage. That Broadway mishap came on the heels of another bizarre theater/phone etiquette story: One audience member at "Hand to God" tried to charge his phone in a non-functioning outlet on stage.