My Ideal Audience
My Ideal Audience
If you ever write a play (way to go!) and someone actually decides to produce it (I already resent you), one thing you don’t want to do is watch the audience. Many playwrights stay in the back of the audience to remain anonymous. I’ve done this myself. But I think it’s more important not to watch everyone else. Because, in my experience anyway (important caveat), you will just be profoundly depressed.
When I watch people watch my plays, I see them considering all the other places they could be, all the other things they could be doing. “She looks like she’d rather be eating ice cream.” “He is clearly thinking about the strip club he may be going to later tonight.” “That person does not appear to be breathing.” It seems to me that the most fulfilled people in the theatre are usually asleep.
I don’t beat myself up about this. And I stress that this is (usually) more my perception than what is actually going on. I’ve had this experience with my plays and had people say convincingly nice things afterwards. Often the same people I’ve suspected of having spit bubbles in their mouths that they’re considering launching at any second. But I think it’s true that attention spans have generally shortened. And I’ve definitely noticed that when people are watching my shorter pieces, they’re less likely to appear so completely full of dread and misery.
This is one of the many reasons why I embrace the One-Minute Play Festival. I just don’t think the audience members will have time to settle in and be truly bored by what I’ve written. Sure, they might think they see it coming, they might feel twinges, but before they can start with the hacking coughs, wandering eyes and the epic daydreams, the play will be over! And their boredom is now someone else’s problem.
So, truly, thank you One-Minute Play Festival. Your confidence in my ability to engage an audience for sixty seconds means more than you know. See you all at the theatre. I’ll be watching!
The Second Annual New jersey One-Minute Play Festival is presented in partnership and support ofThe New Brunswick Theater Festival (NBTF) for their teaching artist initiatives in the New Brunswick Community. The NJ OMPF is one night only: Sunday January 22nd, at 7PM at Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, NJ. For tickets click here.