Monday, September 21, 2009
One of my favorite parts about being a stage manager is getting to see how the audience reacts to a show. I watch, I enjoy, I analyze. I'm slowly figuring out how you can tell whether an audience (or even just one person) is with you, and will stay with you through the rest of the show. There's a few things that can happen right away to let you know they're on board:
They cry (sometimes in the first moments)..
They lean forward..
They look at the person next to them (More on that another day).
And my personal favorite...the moment of identification. Oh dear, that sounds like something from a psychology class. So I'll call it the moment of Breath. It's that sound you hear when someone sees something they know, something they recognize or have experienced, when they see something True. It's that, 'Hmh' sound, a soft release of the breath and throat. Sometimes it's louder, almost a laugh. Sometimes it's softer or so profoundly felt you can almost hear them say 'amen.'
It's when an audience member sees a child run across stage and catch a football and release that soft breath as they think, 'I know that child. I was that child. I Have that child...I know these people and this story. Tell me more.'
When someone reads or sees or hears something deep, meaningful or just simple yet universal, you hear that moment of breath - the moment of Agreement. It happens in plays too, and I know the audience has stepped on board for the rest of the journey. Even if they aren't loud, weeping or laughing, they have joined the story because in it, they see themselves.
Happy Monday...hope you see something beautiful and true today.