February 1, 2010

"Upon entering the theatre, two understudies/ushers arbitrarily chose audience members to be 'frisked.'"

"This theatrical choice is meant to prepare the audience for the show, but its use in 'Fat Men in Skirts' ends up making many of the audience members scared and uncomfortable."

11 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The theater is a closed experience with a room full of strangers. The ushers are the authority symbols saying that it is also a safe orderly place you can relax in. When the ushers are not safe people, then the stress level has no antidote except joinng with other audience members. That is an apt metaphor for our Fifth Columnist President and his Czars seeking whom they may devour and redistribute their goods, and the audience that is forming its Tea Party. But Barak just Smiles and say why don't you see the good that my ushers are doing to you, and tripple locks the exit doors.

former law student said...

its use in 'Fat Men in Skirts' ends up making many of the audience members scared and uncomfortable.

Isn't that what good theater is all about, as far back as Punch clubbing his wife Judy in the head?

MadisonMan said...

The script was really the downfall of this production.

Actors can work and work but if the script cuts them off at the knees.....

former law student said...

Ironically, the audience members could just get out via the nearest exit.

EDH said...

"Fat Men" to Hillary: "Iron my Skirt!"

Hillary: "Ah, the remnants of transvestism alive and well."

Dudley Do-right said...

So when the 'ushers' find a Glock or a 1911, what exactly did they plan to do?

LoafingOaf said...

Hey, Althouse: Your blog was all messed up ysterday on IE. The February stuff looks fine, today, but the whole of January 2010 in your qarchives is all messed up with giant text and so forth. It probably was caused by something in your last couple posts yesterday, or something.

Roger Sweeny said...

Am I the only one who thought of "Hi, Mom!"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi,_Mom!

Youngblood said...

I've read other reviews of the Mercury Players production, and everyone else gave this aspect of the show high marks. None of them suggested that it was overly intrusive. None of them indicated that it genuinely scared the audience.

Also, the way others describe it, it's not a "frisking". The ushers are dressed up like flight attendants and they greet the members of the audience as though they're helping to seat them on a plane (the first act begins on a plane). They pick out people at random for a body scan, wave a fake metal detector over them while pretending to be suspicious, and then send them on their way.

My suspicion is that Langer is overly sensitive and has difficulty distinguishing between obviously fake authority figures and real ones.

(PS: If you don't think you'd enjoy this type of audience participation, then you should probably stay away from smaller theatrical productions.)

Jess said...

Youngblood: I was planning on avoiding just this show, but you've sold me. I'll avoid all smaller theatre productions as per your advice. Thanks!

Youngblood said...

Jess wrote:

"Youngblood: I was planning on avoiding just this show, but you've sold me. I'll avoid all smaller theatre productions as per your advice. Thanks!"

When it comes to smaller productions, this sort of audience participation is far from uncommon. Directors are very aware of the opportunities for interaction that the intimacy and immediacy that a small venue offers, and it becomes one of the tools in their toolkit.

But since you found my advice so helpful earlier, I'll offer some more:

You definitely want to stay away from productions of the musical "Hair", no matter the size of the production or venue. The interaction between the players and the audience is usually far greater than the example presented here.

Also, if you go to a comedy club don't sit too close to the stage. If you go to a playhouse where a comedy troupe is putting on a show, sit somewhere away from the aisles.

You'll probably want to avoid renaissance fairs, second stage shows at folk festivals, and street fairs in the artsy fartsy part of whatever town you happen to be in.