When is an audience not an audience?
When you think you know them.
My impressions when the crowd rolled in. They were very young.
I had been told The Falls Festival was going to get very trashy. “Mindless”.
I found myself wondering with a wry grin whether these people would even understand the meaning of irony.
So comfortable and clean and healthy and wealthy they were. Were they indeed mindless?
It could make performing a show pivoting on the idea of irony even more ironic …. perhaps.
Or it might make them easier prey for the edgy wit of Mr Jeremy Farquar, twisted butler to the rich but not famous?
Or it might not work at all.
Time would tell.
For the meantime a sea of tents and vehicles grew quickly. Surrounding the main arena and The Village, where I was performing Jeremy Farquar the twisted butler in “The Fool, the cow and the art of corruption”. http://passion4laughter.com/?page_id=67
The Village, organised, created, led by Ian Pidd of Melbourne, is an enclave of the bizarre and wonderful. Creativity abounds in many forms.
Ian Pidd takes risks and it pays off.
First performance was soon after The Village openned its gates. A clear cool sunny afternoon. On a flattish area of grass in front of the stage with a gentle slope rising in front for the audience.
The first show went very well. So did the others. Responses were passionate and motivated. Never mindless. One volunteer was extremely smashed and very crude, but still simply playful at his root.
After another show a young chap even wanted to engage in real debate about the possibility of change in our society, responsibilities, roles etc… so we did! With hugs.
I found the audiences to be attentive, thoughtful and reactive. These young adult people definitely had minds. Thankfully.
The last performance was at 3.30am. The middle of the night. Ian had warned me of a potential difficulty I would encounter… that the audience would not be able to concentrate for long; given their altered state combined with so much distraction in The Village at that time.
I condensed the show a little. It was punchy and effective. Mr Farquar received a strong response.
Ian, I am proud to say, thought “to hold such an audience was nigh on a miracle”.
This audience were a bit bendy; they found it hard to stand up or stand still. Still they were focused and responsive.
At the end of “The Fool, the cow and the art of corruption” I invite the audience to come forward and take a piece of paper from me. On it is my email address and sometimes the address of another website / organisation active against the world arms trade. I ask the audience to write to their MP or get in touch with me for an example letter. Every show many inspired people come forward and take the details. After each festival I receive a wave of emails.
Combined, the audiences from The Falls Festival were above average in their numbers getting back to me!
My preconceptions were turned on their head. These young adult people showed themselves to be playful, thoughtful, active.
As a performer I was reminded to be in the moment in the performance with your audience. Not to hold any preconceptions in your mind. Step into the play of the piece. Propose, respond. It will unfold as it should. Organically in the moment of that performance.
As a middle aged man I was reminded to stay open and not become a judgemental grey hair acting on hearsay.
The youth of today! The youth of today! The youth of today love a great party, and still have their brains and minds very much switched on.
Just the same as the youth of yesteryear, the youth of myyear, and the youth of tomorrow.
Good luck to them in solving the challenges in the future they will find.
I must get in touch with Mr Ian Pidd. I would enjoy performing for those young folk again!