Are You My Audience?

This weekend, I was in Basement Art’s annual production of “Night of Fights.” Though the production came at a very hectic time, what with me about to head out to New York and LA for my acting showcase (ahh!) and trying to get all of my work submitted before graduation (blah), after our first performance we were “stoked.” The production is usually a compilation of scenes and fights but this year, one of my classmates wrote a full play to go along with the stage combat choreography, allowing “Night of Fights” to reach whole new heights and take the audience completely by surprise. The audience was chanting and heckling the whole time, which added an exciting element to the show that really riled up our performances, and afterwards the reaction from the audience was overwhelming. I had a bunch of my non-theatre friends there, and they felt that this was their favorite performance they had seen, which made me laugh a little. When I told this to my director, however, he wasn’t surprised.

“Yeah!” he said, “That’s because this show is FUN. It’s a play for the audience.”

And don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun too. Despite the bruises all over my body from months of rolling on the floor and whacking weapons around, I had a lot of fun. But typically, an actors dream role consists of a lot of “self-serving” monologues and deep character analysis found in the works of authors such as Chekhov or Miller. Miller even said once that he writes great characters for actors; characters to sink their teeth into. But this show was particularly rewarding when we finally got in front of an audience because it was somewhat theirs, too. It was funny, quick, and full of gut wrenching stage combat. The kind of show you can just watch, without thinking too much. Because of this, the audience just had a lot of fun, which is exactly what we wanted.

On Sunday, the roles were reversed and I went to see the University production of “The Imaginary Invalid,” by Moliere. The show was quite a feat for the actors, running around 2 and a half hours. It was colorful and silly in the name of restoration comedy, though immensely different from “Night of Fights.” The play used politics and ethics to make the audience think, despite all of the potty jokes, and by the end I was both entertained and exhausted from the stimuli. This play was meant to make the audience think about modern medicine and technology, and the dangers of interfering with natural human life. “Night of Fights” was meant to make you wonder if that blood was real.

So as I ponder who my evolution essay is geared towards, I ponder what I want my audience to think about. From what I have so far I have narrowed it down to these three topics: 1. Passion.  2. The Authentic Self. 3. Not Giving a Shit. Thinking along these lines, I would write this for my professor of my English 425 class. I would write this for him because I am aiming towards achieving the “So what,” of this assignment, something we stressed so much in that Immersion Journalism class. I want to write this not only to fulfill a class, or for myself, but so others can read it and apply it to themselves.

In the minor, I would write this for my blog group who has listened to my project progression all semester, and who would understand my background in this course. Outside of the minor, I would write this for my mom, who knows me very well and would know if this essay seemed authentic enough to me. I would also write this for my roommates who are pursuing completely different careers (i.e. engineering and business) to see if they would be able to relate to the core of what I am saying.

This essay outlines my career as a writer and references my work in the minor, but as I continue to write it I must make sure to give it a life and meaning outside of my own and this class.

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