emcmullin at kl.com
Mon Jan 31 13:40:35 EST 2000
Nat said, regarding audience confusion about participation:
"I think the audience may simply have been befuddled. I think its a
shyness thing: if you set up a performance so the audience KNOWS they're
> be involved, they'll happily respond (folk music concerts, night club
> dancing, etc.). If they don't expect it, it can be like a junior high
> where nobody dances because they don't think they know HOW to dance."
<BG> about junior high dances - chuckle - the miserable self
consciousness - Sixteen Candles has the best high school dance scene ever,
But with regard to audience participation and setting up
expectations for it, I like when the performers bustle up and down the
aisles for their entrances and exits. It doesn't surprise me any more but
the first time I saw it done I was really taken off guard. That simple
change threw my expectations down for at least the first couple of acts
because I could no longer assume that mine would be a passive playgoing
I think I've also seen at least one where players actually stood in
the audience to deliver their lines. Don't remember which that was, though.
Not too long ago I went to a small theater in the round play during
which a character wildly waved a gun around - and I ducked - twice. But
then I saw a second play where the same was done, and I winced much less.
Now I've seen at least four and I am not just blase but getting a little
irritated with the playwrights. I ran into an old college classmate of mine
who was writing a play, so I asked "Does it have someone waving a gun around
wildly?" The answer was yes. I didn't press the subject but the writer
looked kind of taken aback.
So a certain element of surprise may be called for. Another time a
player was stuffing a doughnut into his mouth at the very edge of the stage,
while delivering his soliloquy - suddenly he was surprised by an entrance
and, well, launched a gobbet into the aisle. Not for everyone. Much
depends on the sort of theater you let yourself in for, hm?
I saw a two person play at that small theater and one of the players
had a difficulty with spittle. Oh, it was terrible. For a while I couldn't
decide if it was by choice, but I thought not. There were so many extended
face to face intense conversations during which the other actor's
professional thespian skills were tried to the limit as he pretended not to
notice his face becoming gradually drenched. But this is all beside the
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