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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

After Dark, March 15, 2011

Moving the Audience
It would seem that theatre without breath doesn't even qualify as theatre.
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Tonight, at 7pm, CharPo launches it's season of Twee-atre. (@gcharlebois to follow it; read about the concept here). Another local project the editors here are very excited about are the podcasts, to come in April, from C'est La Vie Theatre. (Read a first person piece about this initiative here.)

The projects have one thing in common: it is theatre without the "breath" of theatre - the live audience. It would seem that theatre without that breath doesn't even qualify as theatre. In the case of the podcasts you might even say that it is closer to radio. With Twee-atre, though we are saying we are keeping the artist/audience model, the audience is in essence, silent though they are invited to tweet reactions at the end of the "performance."

Nourishing thought in the spectator...makes the spectator an even more active member of the process.

But to dismiss both projects as non-theatre is to largely miss the point of them. Firstly, both projects are disseminating new works in a way that is different from publishing but falls into the same category. Is reading/listening to drama not part of the theatrical experience?

Of course it is. Nourishing thought in the spectator - asking them to imagine words in terms of their staging possibilities - makes the spectator an even more active member of the process. Also, and I believe this profoundly, it makes them want to go to theatre.

I use my own experience as anecdotal evidence. When I was a boy, after I had seen my first "serious" play (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf), I began to buy plays. My first was The Crucible and from my first reading I not only desperately wished to see it staged, I also wanted to see everything Arthur Miller had written. Then I bought a recording of Playboy of the Western World and I was in love.

Reviews and chatter also fuel what I want to see in theatre.

More recently I've had that experience with Angels in America, with several of Shakespeare's less often performed plays (I'm mad for Titus Andronicus and the Henry VI plays) and I have read and reread all of Chekhov, praying that one day I will see the production that will rise to what I imagine.

Reviews and chatter also fuel what I want to see in theatre. Equus excited me far before I read or saw it; just the idea of War Horse, now playing in London, thrills me. American Idiot? You bet.

Any exposure to ideas of theatre draw you in if you are open to those ideas. Twee-atre and podcasts and, let me add, plays published in electronic format (like local playwright, Jonathan Fournier, is about to do) all spread the MELT message - indeed the message of all theatre:

Let us breathe together.


  1. You'll be glad to know Montreal Shakespeare Company is supposed to be doing a Titus Adronicus in the fall...

  2. How does one get to be one of the playwrights for Twee-atre? Is there a way to sign up or is it a "by invitation" type thing? This interests me greatly.

    Jonathan Fournier

    PS: Thanks for the mention. :)

  3. The Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company will indeed be presenting Titus Andronicus from August 02-06, 11-13 at the Monument National in full Shakespearean text. Check for updates.

    The cast includes many notable Montreal actors and features live percussion. Over 40 actors will help bring the world of Titus to life.


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