An interesting experience, stewarding for the Punchdrunk/ART production Sleep No More but the audience can influence the tenor of the night. And last night's audience was AWFUL. For those of you conversing at full voice: you suck. For those of you waltzing around all night without a mask: you suck. And you suck really bad.
Part of the beauty of Punchdrunk's vision and magic is their trust in the audience, their belief that the audience is a focal point of the production. There are no other theatrical productions that I've experienced where a member of the audience can be treated to an intimate one-on-one performance. And all that's required on the part of the audience to become a part of that magic and genius is openness and trust, requited. The production is a mystery best explored on your own, without your crew, without your honey. Go explore by yourself and compare notes at the end of the night. Be willing to be a little unsure, a little off center. Play the game. Play the play. The play is play.
Last night's audience was too - I dunno - mean-spirited? Afraid? Dull? Certain? Perhaps they'd consider themselves too clever, too sophisticated to be caught up in the playfulness of the event, to play with the venue, to play with the experience. Not willing to risk a little fooling, they become fools. That ugly, hard, practical, unimaginative attitude brought a really nasty energy to the whole site. Production crew and stewards were in bad moods by the end of the night thanks to the onslaught of the philistines.
Hopefully, they'll all stay home next time and tell their equally unworthy friends to do the same. Being around all those creepy people left me spooked in ways Macbeth and his Lady never could.