WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Audience Dilemma

Hello everyone and welcome back from the weekend! As usual, I'd like to plug something (not so shamelessly!) before I get to the goods. Brandeis is having an alumni film competition and my friend Anthony and I created this film. I'm not sure if you'll get the jokes if you didn't go to Brandeis, but if you could at least click on the link, it will help us get closer to winning! Also, you know you want to watch me playing a pretty baller detective. Thanks faithful followers!

But back to the blog. Kenny has previously talked about how audience members influence each other at the theatre but today I'd like to talk about how the audience can impact the actors. I just finished my run of The Emperor's New Clothes. Now, the majority of our audience is under the age of ten years old which means that when they think something is funny they laugh out loud. They don't hold back! And, hey, as actors we are expecting them to. Hell, we're hoping that they will because we'll know we're doing out job right. But today's audience, while decent sized, was the silent type. They had weird bursts of laughter (mostly at rowdy children) but for the most part didn't laugh out loud. It didn't throw off the whole show, but it definitely shook the actors a bit. I know we're not supposed to TRY for the laugh, but you better believe that we want it. And every time the audience doesn't laugh, it makes us jump another hurdle in hopes of getting your attention and your approval.

I mean, that's the point of live theatre right? That each performance is different and the audience is one of those factors that makes each one unique. I've said this before and I'll say it again, the relationship between the audience and the actor is symbiotic. We give you our best and we hope that you'll help us along. But now I've started thinking, what happens when you're at a show that you're not enjoying? You can't walk out (well, you could, but I would suggest doing it at intermission, mid-show is plain RUDE not to mention TACKY) and you can't throw fruit as we're not in Elizabethan England. I mean, what if the actors are doing a great job but the script is poor? Or there's crappy direction? If you're losing interest because of one of those factors, it still effects the actors. I'm not telling you to fake enjoyment and I'm not telling you that you have to like everything you see. All I'm saying is, when you go to the theatre next, think about how once you enter the house, you are part of the show. Whew, thinking is hard. Your turn to tell me what you think! What is your relationship with the audience as an actor or the actor as an audience?

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