Saturday, August 20, 2016
August 20. Day 233. You're only human
There's a convention in the theatre (actually the theatre is full of them but for the purpose of this exercise I'll pick just one). At the end of the show when taking bows, the performers gesture to thank those back stage, those in the lighting and sound booth, the orchestra if there is one and the audience. The audience. The audience who on paper did nothing but sit there. The audience who bring nothing but themselves and their $$$. The audience who in fact bring everything. A bad audience can ruin a show as much as a bad performance. You've got to bring with you a willingness to be entertained. Obvious really but under-rated. You'll hear performers say "tough crowd" and I've sat in a theatre that might as well have been packed with crash test dummies. I've also sat in the audience packed with friends and family which can be just as annoying because they laugh too early or too loud or in the wrong places. Which brings me to today. I was at South Bank when I saw a familiar face, a performer known as Melon the Human AKA Tom Stewart. A storm was approaching so Melon decided to rush to preform before the heavens opened. The crowds eagerly gathered and moved in close as the finale approached. Melon choose a volunteer whose job it was to blow bubbles behind him as he juggled giant bubbles. Simple enough but she just didn't play along except in the most perfunctory, disengaged sort of a way. I've seen more life in a lecture theatre at 9am on a Monday. Remember this bloke successfully auditioned for Cirque du Soleil. Remember he charges nothing. All you HAVE to do as an audience member is play along. That wouldn't seem like much to ask but she wasn't playing. Not to be deterred Melon the Human put in a super human effort and the crowd cheered. Some even opened their wallets. To the rest of you, I hope you used that $5 or $10 you might have contributed wisely. There might be no such thing as a free lunch but a free performance we take for granted. Hardly seems fair.