Saturday 16 February 2008

them and us

In the New York Times, Charles Isherwood considers what gets lost in interactive theatre when the barrier between ‘them’ and ‘us’ is dissolved. The first casualty appears to be what-happens-next: ‘it is not easy to communicate complex narrative to a fragmented audience.’ The second is the audience thinks about itself rather than the performance.

The Artful Manager notes the issue goes wider than theatre: ‘all roads in the lively arts seem to be moving toward more visibly active audiences, less traditional audience chambers, and less sitting quiet in the dark.’

An ex-vaudevillian follows up AM’s post by recommending a first-rate piece by journalist Gene Weingarten, which follows the fortunes of a world-class violinist as he busks unrecognised and unloved to early-morning commuters in a Washington metro station. (Some people did flip him a quarter.)

In the performer/audience relationship, it seems (and here, Kant is cited as an authority), context is all.

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