Atmospheric Changes in the Theater Monday through Friday
What's different about audiences every day of the week, you ask?
This summer reminded me a lot of high school of and college. I think that had to do with one aspect in particular: community.
DISGRACED is a pulitzer prize winning play by Ayad Akhtar, about our deep-rooted shame, battling with self - identity and nature vs nurture. Directed by Marcela Lorca, the show is running at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis through August 28th, 2016. It also happens to be the most widely-produced play in the country right now.
Everyone here is tied to a purpose: to tell the best story possible; to bring the Director and Playwright's vision to reality. A cast and crew including production, costume design, sound and lighting, we’ve all got our own priorities and motivations. But we were brought here to the Twin Cities to bring our unique skill-sets together to make an exhibit of sorts, all to deliver an impact to the paying audience.
You see the eyes of the people who come here, day in and day out, and it’s fascinating to see how the room changes from one day to the next. 40+ performances in you start to notice patterns within yourself and those around you. Habits form naturally and progressively, the show takes a life of it’s own in atmosphere’s realm: a charge.
They say every audience is different, and it's true. Every actor's / performer's biography I've read involves some discourse of the magic of performing live - the collective audience takes a voice of it's own. It's magnetizing, addicting, and enriching.
A tongue-and-cheek totally generalized look into audiences throughout the week
Welcome to the Machine, all it takes is Monday to start. A good Monday is one of restful observance. A re-acquaintance with the way of wonder, checking in with the ultimate goal in life, what brings about happiness, and fostering harmony with the mind and body. I think of it as the day I get to not set the alarm. Which usually doesn’t turn out so well if Sunday was a really fun day. A bad Monday means over-swiping tinder, addictive phone browsing. But any Monday I get to snapchat freely is sweet redemption :)
Usually precipitated by thinking it’s SUNDAY first thing in the morning, the body craves Tuesday after the right amount of time off to click back in. Performance time is usually refreshing, fun, and attention doesn’t have too hard a time of staying focused. Tuesday’s are for re-discovery, letting go, and listening.
NOMINEE FOR BEST AUDIENCE OF THE WEEK
I would’ve never guessed it myself, but as a cast mate so effectively put it post-show: “They want to be here.” I imagine the middle of the week is the perfect opportunity for a second-wind to take them through the weekend. For the average viewer, midweek means there’s still time for inspiration to strike, and some good theater has a spark unlike any other.
It’s the listening, quieter houses. I can’t tell if people aren't sure if they should enjoy themselves or wait a day before letting loose. This one might have something to do with the program handed to them before the show. Yes, audience members receive a program for any show every day of the week... but there are 25 reasons somewhere on Buzz Feed that audiences on THURSDAY nights are more receptive to reading what they’re walking into. Nobody’s walking into the house without some heads up, because they already got in trouble for not paying attention earlier this week.
...and that's just the front row.
LET’S PUT THIS WEEK TO BED! I can hear them screaming as they enter the theater, spiffed up and a sprite in their step. Families, dates, double-dates, group outings, youth discovering something new, people fresh from an early dinner. Done with work, everyone’s ready to enjoy themselves and kick off before the weekend. It's time to have fun, and the energy is lively, the balls bouncing back and forth.
I love you, Friday. Always have, always will.
SATURDAY / SUNDAY
3 - 4 shows each weekend to close out 8 shows the week. These days go by fast, usually with post-show talk backs with the cast, more audience feedback and interaction between shows. Before you know it, it's Monday and it goes rinse, repeat, recycle.