Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reflecting on Push and Audience Obligation.

Does an audience owe anything to a performance? When I attended "Nevermore", two audience members seated beside me left at intermission because they were not enjoying the show. Is this rude? Is performance like an ill fitting shirt to be returned because it does not please? I certainly agree that the audience has the right to walk out but at what provocation? While "Nevermore" was not without its flaws it was not offensive, aggressive or even that dark. They simply didn't like it and left without seeing the end. I am fairly sure that the actors didn't notice and if I hadn't been sitting right beside them I wouldn't have noticed either. So why was I so bothered?

Any professional performance is sometimes years in the making, months in planning, weeks in rehearsal and a significant investment of capital. When you attend such a performance, you are not only enjoying a bit of theatre but supporting a community of artists dedicated to producing art. Do you not owe a certain amount of respect to the culmination of such an effort? I suspect you already know what I think on the matter. Yes, you do. Now, if you are unable to continue watching because you are offended or you are ill, I cannot fault that. This was not the case, however. I take the stand that leaving because you are unimpressed is just as rude as answering a phone call, talking during the performance or any other number of agreed upon transgressions. Just because the end result did not live up to your expectations, you should still respect the artists who endeavored to create something magical, even if they failed.

1 comment:

  1. You raise some interesting points here, Jennifer. I tend to agree--I think that in performance audiences do need to put something into the exchange as well.