So, I am finally starting to venture out again to see things, see people....old haunts so to speak. It has taken me a while and I find this swirl of shame and self loathing still seems to swirl around me when I see friends or go out to familiar places.
ANYWHOOOO...I have been missing most of the theater that has been happening in town. I wish I haven't been, but there ya go. I have seen two things over the last four months or so; Good People and Benchwarmers. I saw Benchwarmers last night and saw, again, what I hope is not a trend in theater, but both of these very different pieces used the time to change sets as a time for "humor." I can ALMOST see why in Benchwarmers as it is a short play thinggy...eight pieces strung together by a bench. BUT...
To me, using this device shows such disrespect. Prime example from last night? At the end of a particularly moving piece, From Falling Down, there is a bit of ambiguity. As audience, I want the time to decide for myself what the character meant...what it meant for the future...what it meant to me. Instead of being trusted, instead of giving me respect as an halfway intelligent theater goer..I was met with, instead of silence...a crashing of chairs and more ridiculous banter, that was either improvised or poorly written. Pulled me out of the moment. And for what? To make sure I was sufficiently "entertained?" Hell, I can go to YouTube for that...I can think, thank you very much.
Not only was is disruptive, but the topic was the same old~same old tired jokes about "pampered" actors, "controlling" directors, and how simple minded what we do as artists really is.
Do you realize just how unprofessional this makes the whole experience? At a Theater, you are going to bad mouth and belittle the very artists you are claiming to support?? Which, perhaps if done WELL it may have worked...ONCE....but not between each and every piece.
In the other production, it was even worse. The people doing set changes were dressed as garbage men....yeah THAT says a lot...and they were clearly given free reign to improvise. Holy Hell...are you kidding me? Improv is a very difficult skill...seems simple...but they were going for laughs...again...pulling the audience away from the piece itself?
In the second act, there is a long opening scene with a quick break to a very short final scene...I swear, both times I saw it the set change was longer than the second scene. So much gets dropped in that first scene..and so much gets revealed in that short second scene....I even read it..I had an idea of what was coming, but because I had to watch this really poorly executed buffoonery as they moved a set, I shut down...didn't care...just wanted it to be over. And frankly, I hardly heard a word in that second scene.
Were you trying to "soften the blow" for the audience? If so...FUCKING
STOP. Again...I can go to my Facebook Page for funny cat videos. I can
handle the issues in Good People and I don't think that I am going out on a limb to say that anyone who chose to drag their ass to a theater and drop 20 bucks on your show can "handle' it.
It is a matter of trust for me...Trust your actors, trust your directors, and for god sake trust your audience....