Best of This Week's Theatre Blogs - 23 Oct 2009Date: 23 October 2009
What is the best way to reach younger audiences? This week Parabasis attempted to dispel the idea that Facebook and Twitter are magic solutions for connecting with younger audiences. Meanwhile Foursight Theatre documented a very special type of connection with a young audience as they involved a class of Year Five pupils with their Corner Shop Project - encouraging them in the process to share their own stories.
Elsewhere it was onstage participation which preoccupied bloggers. The Clyde Fitch Report wrote about the controversy which has greeted a hearing actor playing a non-hearing part at the New York Theatre Workshop and questioned how this impacts on casting decisions. For A Rehearsal Room of One's Own it was the statistics revealing the most performed playwrights in the USA in 2009 which were troubling - with the top twelve including only one woman.
Finally, Bristol Old Vic reflected on The Factory's version of The Seagull and how near or far improvisation brings the actors (and the audience) to the Playwright.
"Can we please have it honestly and start asking some more interesting questions, some more difficult questions? Questions like: Do you actually want younger audiences, or do you just want their money? or Would your theater company be able to sustain itself on a younger audience base?"
"We listened to a recording of me interviewing my now deceased grandparent. We talked about the value of hearing and preserving people’s stories. They have gone off now to interview grandparents/family members/neighbours, in order to share stories when we next meet after half term... the week they also go to see The Corner Shop Production."
"This controversy proves that the issues around color-blind, gender-blind and demographically appropriate casting, not to mention the appropriate racial/religious makeup of certain productions, remain unresolved in the theater."
"If I see that a play has both a male playwright and a male director, something else has to bring me to that play - either it's got to sound really compelling, or be by someone so good or famous I can't resist, or have someone I know in the show. I'm a bit more likely to take a chance on a female playwright, especially if there's also a female director."
"Yet what we see is, crucially, each actor finding their character in their own words and their own world. Inevitably, Chekhov's precision and poetry is sacrificed (though there are moments of unexpected poetry); but the rhythm of Chekhov - the ways his characters speak and argue - and the peculiarly Chekhovian way of writing a character - talkative, querulous, changeable, selfish, philosophical - comes through very strongly."