I’ve noticed a trend in recent months that is becoming increasingly common: audience participation. Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe it’s just me: I, personally, have been drawn into the onstage action at least three different times in the last six months. Here’s a brief recap:
- Back in March, I got hauled onstage at the FRIGID New York Festival’s production of G-Men Defectives, where I was given the opportunity to punch one of the actors in the stomach (only a “stage” punch, mind you) and rewarded with my very own curtain call at the end of the show. How nice.
- In June, I wound up in the middle of the startling and mysterious performance piece, And. This production, which was presented at the National Asian American Theatre Festival, lured almost the entire audience onstage to investigate the nature of performance itself, and the relationship between performer and viewer. Little did we know that, over the course of the show’s hour-long running time, we would become the show.
- Then, there was my appearance in the FringeNYC 2007 production of Susan Gets Some Play (which I chronicled extensively here).
So, what gives? Why all the increased audience participation lately? Or has it always been going on around me and I just didn’t notice? All I can say is that I kind of like it. It adds a little more fun unpredictability to the proceedings, and gives the audience a chance to get involved if they like (and, from what I’ve seen at other shows where I didn’t get brought onstage, they like to get involved).
What’s your take on this practice? Whatever your thoughts are, pro or con, I’d like to know. Leave a comment or email me here.