Whispers from the Wings

Joining the audience

September 11, 2012

the set for Lear in a school hall The final week of rehearsals was transformative for the show. We invited an audience.

On Wednesday and Friday we had two dress rehearsals for a young and adult audience.

Tim reassured the company that it was to be treated as a run, and not a fully fledged performance - but I couldn't help feel the palpable nervousness in the room, and get whisked up in it myself.

I was indeed nervous too. The pre-show of King Lear helped ease the actors into the performance, and the audience had time to adapt and buy into the world being created and the characters living in it. Seamlessly the play began.

I was glued to the audience. What would they think? Having seen it so many times I was now consumed with the new bodies in the space with us, and how they would read, or not read the event unfolding before them.

In no particular order I saw laughter, surprise, tears, blank faces, more laughter, shock, communal sighs, interest. When someone looked puzzled or inexpressive I wondered what were they thinking about.

Matt Sutton reminded us before the run that 'there is no art to find the mind's construction in the face'. (Macbeth). And that was a good idea to hold onto as I perused the faces in the room. Let them be - and let them enjoy the show. You cannot sum it all up from reading their faces.

Relieved of my studying, I was sucked back into seeing King Lear again, and hearing and feeling the story. I forgot about the audience - I joined them.

by Caroline Byrne  |  No comments yet


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Teaching Shakespeare