Not questions (and not answers neither)

9 Nov

If as performers we care about both connecting with an audience and maintaining creative integrity how do we navigate the individuality within audiences? Who are we connecting with?

I agree with you Noel that audiences are made up of individuals, yet there is still a collective identity that a performer negotiates with.
It’s not that uncommon to hear performers talk about ‘good’ and ‘lovely’ audiences, audiences that are ‘hard work’, or even a ‘surprising’ audience.

When we’re experiencing a performance, we are very readily affected by those who are sat around and with us. If other people are walking out, and we’re not enjoying our own encounter with the performer, I suspect that the average person will be more likely to leave. If we’re enjoying what we see and there’s people walking out, that will also affect our enjoyment (perhaps it’ll be stimulated because we feel like we’re in an exclusive group who ‘gets it’, perhaps we’ll be indignant on behalf of the performer, perhaps we’ll be saddened by our perceived rudeness of others).
If we seeing the show with someone who we care about, and they’re sitting there restless and bored, that will affect our own experience.
If someone stands up and heckles the performers and we don’t feel that that’s appropriate, we will no doubt demonstrate a lack of approval. Even if it’s just a stern look and some dreadful mutterings under our breath.
If we’re bored by a show, but everyone around us is transfixed – does that not affect our endeavours to find what’s of value in the work?

Yes, we have individual tastes, moods and interests. And yes, they do have a massive effect on how we experience work.
But we are social creatures who are massively effected by the historical, political and sociological contextualisation of the work, and those histories, politics and societies are made up of other people. Both within a given audience, and the world beyond.

tim

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