Thursday, February 3, 2011

Percival's Big Night Investigates the Audience

If you don't know, I'm working on a show called Percival's Big Night right now (only a few nights left!)

One of my actresses has written for Backstage a quite interesting blog post about the show, under the title "Theatre Party":

Because of the super-naturalistic feel of the show, we chose to stage it in an event space that would allow us make the audience feel like they were a part of the bedroom the play takes place in. We also chose to take advantage of the bar in the space and advertise the show along with drink specials like hot toddies and cake shots. Instead of inviting people to just come and sit through a play, we are inviting them to a party.

As someone who is obsessively curious about why it's so hard to get people to come see theatre, and why the experience is frequently so unsatisfying, I have been observing our Percival audiences pretty closely. Here are some of my notes.

You should definitely read her notes. They're not only enlightening about audiences, but they also raise that bedeviling issue on my mind about whether the arts can survive without alcohol.

It's worth noting, by the way, that the guy who is renting the space to us had a lot of the same concerns. In fact, he went off to me at length about music spaces that are really just bars, and how the music scene has become just another outlet to sell alcohol that just happens to have musicians attached.