Sunday, August 18, 2013

Know your audience

We hung out a bit after the show, which was enjoyable. Usually, I'm beat, or have to get up in the morning, or something that means I leave pretty close to when the show is done.  I also don't always love socializing after a show. It's true.  But tonight was a fun exception, and I really like this group of people - we've done two shows together now.

We talked about a lot of things, shared stories, etc., but the first thing we talked about was tonight's show. I forget that talk, and love it - characterizing the audience.  It's an interesting feature when you're performing -  each audience has a different character. It's easy to forget, and the show can go of the rails if a cast feels the audience isn't with them.  People will change performances, strain, push, psych themselves out, if they feel the audience is not responding. The reality, of course, is that you never know what the audience is thinking, and you have to do what you rehearsed even if you feel the ship is sinking.

The ship was by no means sinking tonight; it was a fun show and the audience had a great time. They laughed at different places than usual, though, and yelled at others. They were also pretty verbal.  So it was a different experience. A fun one, just different than usual. It struck me while we were talking about it that this may be an aspect of performing that you wouldn't know about if you've not been on stage.  Performers notice what you're doing. They characterize like the audience is one giant person.

And in some way it is - that's the miracle of it. A whole group of strangers sit in a room and laugh together at something. They will not meet or ever see each other again. To the people on stage, though, they form a collective, and we're watching and listening to see how that collective moves. We want to make it happy.

Such a bizarre thing to do. I think about it now and so much is second nature, but how it odd it would be to someone who's never been involved. Each night you don't know who you'll get. It's always a surprise.

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