Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our home opener....

As many of you know we opened Sweetest Swing in Baseball this past weekend. It was great to finally get an audience in the theater and to hear their reactions to the show.
It is the addition of you, the audience, that really creates the theatrical experience. You are what makes theater happen.
A lot of times you will hear people talk about adding the audience as the final 'character' or the final 'element', and this is absolutely true.
The thing that makes live theater such a vital experience and something that film and television will never come close to doing is that we share the same space, breathe the same air for a brief moment in time while we share a story.
And that makes the audience just as vital a part of the experience as the actors, technicians, playwrights, directors, and designers.
We cannot exist within a vacuum, creating our art on our own, for our eyes only. We need to share, and we need to share with a community, to complete the circle.

And this opening weekend felt like just that. So I thank all of you who came out this weekend and shared the show with us. Those of you who laughed, moaned, stood up and cheered, I want you to know that makes all the difference. We feel that onstage. It feeds us. It teaches us as actors. We are there live in the room with you and we are listening and reacting to you as much as you are to us.

And to those of you who have not yet made your way out to Sweetest Swing, we have two more weeks left of performances and plenty of chances to see this wonderful show. The reviews are out if you want to check them out online. But I think maybe you should just take my word for it and stop in to see this show. ;)

On one final note, I really must say once again - it is the audience that makes the show. You are the finishing touch. And as we continue to perform you teach us how to hone moments from rehearsals, where to hold for laughs, what makes you cringe. Mary even said there was a moment this weekend when somebody in the audience blurted out "oh, no. please don't", when her character starts inquiring about her doctor's failed dance career, and Mary said that it kind of put that moment in a new light for her. In that instant, that particular audience member's reaction, shined a light on a part of human experience that we maybe missed in rehearsal. And moments like this happen more often than you think. We will walk offstage and head to the dressing room and think 'why did they laugh at that?' - 'Why that reaction?' - and it helps us to better understand a moment and hone our craft as artists and hopefully better understand the human condition and the story which we are telling.

So I thank you once again. I thank you for supporting Milwaukee Chamber Theater and live theater in general. It is vital to the idea of community in a day and age where interpersonal communication is brought to a minimum in pursuit of the most efficient, almost always electronic, mode of delivery. Any coffee shop in the nation, you will find a lot of people in one room connecting to their online communities, paying no attention to the community around them. But that is a story for another time.
I am happy to say that Milwaukee has a community - I think - that sees the value of live theater, and the importance of that storytelling ritual that makes a community whole and vital. Thank you.

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