One of my favorite things to experience is a full house at a theater performance, especially when the audience has teenagers in it. The theater buzzes from the energy.
Last night I was in attendance at Lord of the Flies at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas, tonight I was on Broadway for Spring Awakening. I loved watching both audiences as they waited to get in. They were excited and full of anticipation. It’s so gratifying to see this as I know how all the actors, producers, directors, designers, and playwrights have put their whole soul into creating this special night.
It’s also gratifying to me because the audience members are choosing to be activists…they are engaging in the creative process. That’s why I love theater, I know my presence is part of the art and I’m doing something by being there. I don’t feel that at movie screenings, unless it’s a local maker and I’m there to support his/her work. Even in that case, I am really not a part of the process—my reactions during the film will not change the nature of the performance.
I’ve become such a theater lover that I like to go more than once to the same performance because of what the audience can do to change the way a play goes on any given night. A room full of laughter vs. a room full of silence can completely change the goings-on on stage.
Seeing both Spring Awakening and Lord of the Flies helped me see how important it is to have youths involved in the cast…as that helps bring youths into the audience. And having youths in the audience is magical. If we really want to help theater survive, the younger generation must feel included. I applaud the mission of Public Works in Dallas that produced Lord of the Flies, as it is committed to making theatre particularly relevant to youth audiences in Dallas and that may in turn save theater.