From the second an audience member walks through the theater door the performance of a show begins. The experience is all part of the show. From the impeccably dressed ushers directing you to your seat and efficient bar attendants taking drink orders you begin to form an opinion of your night. The theater itself can seem to welcome you to the show as you take in the preliminary stage setting. Then the middle part – the part everyone comes to see and enjoy – the show on stage. Whether it be a show with good or bad themes, audience members become enraptured in character development and special effects. But one thing I have noticed in the last few plays specifically is how actors treat the end of the show. Bowing is and should be an integral part of a production. I have seen often little quirks or movements that relate the actors back to the show reminding us that these character and actor are one and the same on stage. To be a great show, the cast must remain in a semblance of character while seeming to relate to the audience. By the way they bow and interact, they say “We have all been in this together. We on stage could not do this without you just like you could not enjoy this experience without us. Thank-you for sharing with us at least for one night in this accomplishment.” Good talent can make you enjoy a show, but it takes great talent to make you part of it.
I think this is one reason Broadway musicals experience such great success. I was enthralled with Wicked and even more so with Phantom of the Opera, despite enjoying Wicked more as a show. I look forward to seeing both before, but one show I will not be able to see again is A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream because it is only on this season at London’s Open Air Theater at Regent’s Park. The park itself is beautiful leading up to a very well-designed theater encompassing a brilliant interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays. Despite the differences (or perhaps because of them) the experience aspect of seeing a show was highlighted. It was the perfect (outdoor) setting for Midsummer’s Night with a well thought out production that incorporated aspects of the theater flawlessly into the performance. I think this considering the experience aspect has inspired me to aspire to assist in the designing and staging process of a show’s production and I look forward to more research into this ideal by seeing many more shows both here in London and in future years to come.
The picture is just London skyline across the Thames showing the London Eye.