Here we go a-continuing with the Rhubarb chronicles
The other night I was sitting in Tallulah’s Cabaret, perusing my week 2 playbill waiting for the show to begin when I ended up in an interesting conversation with a Mr. X (we’ll describe him as queer cultural guru at large). He was telling me about the Rhubarb festivals of yore that took place at Buddies in Bad Times original home on George St and how at that time there were often hecklers in the audience, an element that he found both hilarious and yet horrifying…on behalf of the performers. Now myself being a performer of more comedic no fourth wall stuff I am used to hecklers of a sort. Not the drunken attention seeking asshole ones that frequent comedy clubs and I feel probably go to comedy clubs with the aim of spending an evening heckling but just people wanting to talk to “my character” while I am mid-turn (clown term for sketch). This can be fun and I do encourage it at some points, the points where I built it into my routine but sometimes you have to work very hard to work around the boisterous shouting, not ignoring it but not engaging in it for fear of the tangent it may take you on. And if you are in the middle of an actual play with emotions and a fourth wall, hecklers are the stuff of nightmares, along with forgetting your lines or forgetting to put your pants on.
However I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to encourage a new trend of heckler conviviality amongst the audience, more along the lines of a sort of unplanned, un-endorsed by the performers audience participation, an element of control returning to the audience giving them the feeling that they have permission to hate the piece and tell you how they feel or to just leave without feeling the slightest bit rude even if they are seated somewhere very far from anything resembling an exit. Maybe this would bring people back to the theatre if they felt that they were in control and not going to be held captive into watching something that they would have to fake a heart attack to get out of. I think this would reinsert, a much-needed, element of danger back into a night at the theatre. The sort of stuff that gave the Globe theatre its notoriety (or so I assume. I have not really researched audience behavior at the globe but I imagine it to have been wild). Keep everyone on their toes to a point of ballerina blisters.
We all need a bullshit meter (for the pedantic and the pedestrian alike) sometimes and some of us need it all the time.
Maybe this will put a stop to the jumping on only tried and true, fully sturdy, critic endorsed, starfucker promoted, bandwagons with catchy tunes?!