Grand flexibility.


The good weather really affects a theatre audience.  Last night, I was at work, watching Amadeus from the directors box in the Olivier, and there was such a lovely vibe in the room.  Everyone is wearing comfortable clothes, most people had a beer or two in the sun before the show, looked to me like everyone had had a lovely day.  And they responded like I haven't heard an audience respond to that show before: at points it was playing like a stand-up show, lines and moments bringing the house down and getting rounds of applause.  

And the company responded in turn, listening to and playing with the audience within the show's structure.  They felt very locked in, and they took the audience through every step of the story and, really, gave them a gorgeous night in the theatre.  

The whole experience was capped by an immediate & full standing ovation - more people standing than I've seen before in that theatre.

It's that dynamic between actor and audience that I want to live within in my own work.  That acknowledgement that we've all lived through this beautiful weather together today.  That if it's raining, we'll need some joy quickly and that will affect our play.  That if something awful has happened in the world, we're all depressed about it and that will affect our play.  That if there's not many in tonight, we will acknowledge that and it will affect our play.  

I remember a story about stand-up comedian Ian Cognito, usually very loud and shouty and aggressive, playing to a room of 6 people.  Walking on to stage, grabbing a chair, sitting down and telling stories in a half-whisper for half an hour.  Dropped his whole shouty act and played to the situation and the room.  

I want all my shows to have this sort of flexibility.

Tom Hughes