Sunday, October 3, 2010

Audience Reactions to Arcana: A Favorites List

Arcana actor Brandon Ryan accosted me on Friday night after the performance. (He likes to accost people.) "You've been coming to this show too many times!", he said, before feigning a kidney punch and vanishing backstage. (He also likes to do this.)

It's probably true. I saw the show at least once a weekend during the run, and a couple of additional times too. I saw it both Friday and Saturday this week, trying to discreetly show up just before the curtain so I didn't look like one of those sad playwrights who shows up for ego stroking before his own show or to loudly clap and laugh during it. (Okay, I enjoyed a certain amount of ego stroking.)

While it was fascinating to watch the show develop, I got just as much of a kick out of watching the audience. One of the reasons I think people enjoyed this show so much was that the effect of eight individual pieces was particularly varied. They got a chance to laugh, to think some, and to hopefully feel something--and isn't that the definition of a Good Night Out?

Because the evening was such a smorgasbord, it led to some interesting reactions from the audience. Here's a short list of my favorites, either witnessed by me or related by others:

1) The man sitting in the front row during "The Picnic" with eyes fixed determinedly several inches above Katherine, who was sitting just a few feet away splendidly naked.

2) The man sitting in the front row during "The Picnic" who fell asleep several feet away from Katherine while she was sitting there naked. (To which I say--"Dude--maybe you found all 10 minutes of the play dull, but are you really that blase' about having a beautiful woman sitting naked eight feet away from you?") Weirdly enough, he was awake and laughing by the next piece.

3) The two women who sat next to me and started loudly sighing with dissatisfaction during the comedy of "Petting Sounds," and then gave exasperated shakes of their heads at the top of "Affairs with the Moon." They seemed personally affronted by the idea of the Moon talking, and left during intermission.

4) The man who told Anthony, one of the actors in the show, "Man, I loved that. It held my attention every minute. And that's amazing, because I have ADD."

5) The prim older couple who sat disapproving through the first twenty minutes of the show then exploded with guffaws when Brandon revealed just who that was on the tape he was listening to in "Petting Sounds," and were still giggling through till intermission.

6) The delighted smile of the pretty young woman who received a wave and a wink from the Moon.

7) The collective intake of breath the night that Katherine staggered back to sit in her chair in "Balance" and almost missed it, catching it at the last moment with a desperate grab of her fingers. (And then delivered the rest of the monologue the best I'd ever seen it done.)

8) The expectant attention every night as the lights started coming down on Anthony's Priest at the end of "Wild River," and the laughs that would explode when he contemplated the "hotness" quotient of his new boss and gave a small secretive smile.

Thanks to all--actors, artists, and audiences--for an amazing run.

1 comment:

  1. PS: I received a note from the wife of audience member #2 noted above. It turns out that he wasn't sleeping, but his own sense of modesty kept him from gawking at Katherine's disrobed state.

    Fair enough, right? Though if it were me, even if I was sitting with my wife, I'd probably be peeking a bit through my fingers.