Sunday, 1 August 2010

an audience

So here I am on the brink of going to Edinburgh Festival, to open a play called The Author.

It's a brilliant piece.

There's genuinely nothing I've ever seen that's remotely like it.

The play is about many things. And one of the things it's about is an audience.

What does it mean to be an audience? Not just in a theatre - in our lives.

When we see something - when we witness something, when we meet something, how much of that act are we not just viewing (or hearing) but creating?

In a world of beautiful things like hope, love, care, tenderness, richness, curiosity, pleasure...

How responsible are we for making these things happen? In our every day behaviours? In the way we choose to say hello to the stranger we bump into? In choosing to thank the bus driver? In choosing to smile at someone because we think they're beautiful or brave or simply present?

And in a world of terrible things like terror, fear, violence, despair, illness, depression, war, rape and child abuse...

How responsible are we for making these things happen? In our every day behaviours? Not just in what we choose to do, but also in what we choose not to do? In our choice to ignore the loneliest looking person in a room. In choosing not to ask the question we know might need asking? In our choice to not see what is staring us in the face?

It takes courage to participate. To be with others. To truly be with others. And ourselves.

Every one of these questions is inside the body of The Author.

And every one of these questions has come up in rehearsals for The Author. Some very unexpectedly. But all the more keenly.

So - if you fancy a bit of sensory deprivation, if you want to sit back and let the actors entertain you, if you fancy a night off...

Don't come and see The Author.

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