Traditionally audience we ask them to sit in the dark quietly to laugh when it’s funny cry if it’s sad and clap at the end then leave. Hopefully they talk about the play afterwards and the theatre gets good word of mouth and that sell more seats and more people come in when it’s light, sit in the dark laugh if it’s funny cry if it’s sad and clap at the end.
That’s for a performance in the workshop process you have the option of just listened to the play but you are invited to respond in a different way by giving your feedback. Traditionally even though the art the play you see in not a static image we have expected you to remember all that you have seen and syntheses this and give us feedback at the end. That one way to gather information is there another way?
What if we invited the audience to give feedback while they were experience as they were experiencing it – what would that feedback look like? Fluid feedback rather than fixed feedback. How would fluid feedback be different from the completed considered feedback? Well, first as Calgary’s only professional lunchtime theatre we are in the unique position to explore this. Most theatre is in the evening and patrons don’t have to scurry back to the office. Our shows are with in a strict 45 minute parameter. Gathering feedback actively during the reading is a perfect fit for those who can’t stay for a traditional Q & A.
And so rather than sitting in the dark our lights are half up in the house so that people can see to write and for those who like to communicate by keyboarding rather than using pencils we can include that feedback as well.
Because that’s whey we’re all here, in service to the play and the playwright.
Previously to this day, the playwright had something that they wanted to communicate – passionately with you the audience. So they wrote a play and submitted it along with many other people and were selected for development. We at the theatre saw some possibility and so we take a risk on it. So we hire the best actors we can find and the best directors. At first we read the play, then the dramaturg asks questions from a dramatic literary pov, the director form a directorial pov and the actors from the pov of the character. The actor’s job is to ask questions as well about their characters, ot to analyze the text or criticize but simply to ask question, “why do I say this here? ““I left on page 3 here but now I’m in the closet with the tiger” “ how strongly do I react to the death of the parrot?”r This is enormously helpful to the playwright who then responds by answering these questions in subsequent drafts of the play.
We ask now that you join us as we move the play in development, from the private to the public. When the play is produced we will invite the critics for their pov Fortunately you are off the hook to act as critic. What we need form you are your questions- questions about the play and answers to the questions that the playwright has posed.
How will it change your experience of the reading to be writing or typing during it? How will the playwright use your feedback for the next stage of the process. We don’t know.
But how exciting to see. This is an experiment. We may not have enough data to form any conclusions but we have a working hypothesis and a willingness to take a risk.
Today we are gathered for the soul purpose to serve this play Emily and Roy, for Paul Kaufman. In play development, in this moment, right now, we make history, in this fluid feedback project, this a study in motion.
Some Helpful Guidelines
Theatres do not normally allow cell phones or laptops to be used during a performance. By inviting their use during today’s new play reading, what we are trying is a “theatrical experiment”.
Following the guidelines below will result in the most positive experience for everyone.
- Please sit toward the back of the theatre so the glow of screens and typing movement is not in the line of sight of non-Twittering/blogging audience members.
- Please turn down the brightness of your screen and cover any external sources of light on your device to avoid distracting actors on stage.
- Please try to type as quietly as possible. If your device makes a noise when typing please disable that sound – including ringers or notifications.
- Please do not let your writing interfere with your ability to listen to the actors and follow the story.
- Please word your comments respectfully.
- This is a reading of a play in development. It is not a production of a finished play. Please keep this in mind when commenting.
- Phrasing comments in the form of questions to the playwright are considered useful. Please word your comments in a helpful manner.
- The playwright has provided questions in the program they would like answered by audience members. Keeping these questions in mind when providing feedback will result in the most useful comments.
- Comments may be read online by theatre companies contemplating producing a re-written version of this script as a full-fledged play.
- Comments should focus on the story and what strikes a cord with you. Please focus comments on the script and characters rather than about actors or the staging.