BWW Blog: Silent Judgement- An Honest Analysis on Good Audience Etiquette
There seems to be a trend amongst drama students and performers of any age in having difficulties being a good audience member. The leafing through of the Playbill becomes an arena for snobbish comments about past credits and how he/she, for one reason or another, are fit for a different role in a different play. The curtain rises, and you feel jealousy wash over you. Every dance step is analyzed, note critiqued for pitch, and mistake clocked so that, at intermission, you can turn to your friend and explain how your production was superior or you definitely would have done better in the role. Everyone is guilty of this from time to time, for one reason or another. I myself have sat in those seats (or worse, in the wings) and grumbled at girls playing parts that I felt were right for me. While you know that those thoughts are super rude and unhealthy, it's hard to shake the frustrated feeling.
I began reflecting on this as we went into a particularly performance-heavy weekend on my campus. In addition to the second weekend mainstage performances of Into the Woods, the musical theater club hosted their annual Musical Review. I had friends in both performances and was excited to see all of their hard work finally pay off. After seeing so many of these people in the audience for my performance of Rocky Horror, it felt really good to be able to support them in their artistic endeavors.
The Musical Review is a great outlet for performers, mainly freshman and sophomores, to showcase their talents and get experience with balancing schoolwork and the college rehearsal process. As I headed into this year's show, I remember the old bitterness I had last year in not being cast after a callback. While I can understand now that it was petty and immature, at the time I felt really defeated. It was my first real audition opportunity in college and I took it VERY seriously. Since then I have made a lot of personal growth. I understand that one missed casting does not mean that it will be a trend and that each audition or opportunity should be taken as an isolated moment. I went into the Review this year purely as a supportive student, excited to cheer on everyone and validate their efforts. By having this positive attitude, I felt myself truly enjoy the Musical Review and appreciate the talent and dedication of my peers. I could see their joy onstage and in speaking with me after and was genuinely glad that they had the opportunity.
I carried this attitude on to my viewing of Into the Woods and found that by actively acknowledging the strengths of my fellow students rather than focusing on my own desire to one day be cast allowed me to truly be blown away by the show. We are so quick to nitpick, judge, or project our own disappointment in an outcome onto the success of others that we can miss the true beauty of someone excelling at their craft. I left this weekend feeling good about my audience participation and hopeful, after talking with my genuinely proud and supportive peers, that others will do the same moving forward.