Friday, August 07, 2009

ON ACTING: What Audiences Want

Audiences attend a play or film to experience a heightened level of emotional feeling uncommon in their everyday lives.

Ask most audience members why they themselves go to the theater, they will tell you: to ‘escape’, or to be entertained. As a follow up, ask them what they are escaping from; they will generally answer “the boredom of my everyday life.” They also give a similar response when asked what they mean by the word entertainment; a response something close to the dictionary definition of entertainment: they seek “distraction; amusement” from their everyday lives.

(The French word “entrainment” means to “carry along, bring with you”.) Audiences seek escape in entertainment, to be distracted, to be brought along by the performance of an actor to a place removed from their boring, everyday lives. They seek by that journey to be led to a deep re-discovery of themselves.


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