On Sunday I had a chance to attend the play Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Long Beach, CA with one of my friends. This post briefly goes over the play and some of my takeaways.
The story is primarily about two conmen who prey on wealthy women. The performance was quite enjoyable. It has been many years since I have attended a live performance such as this and it was a delight.
I thought the story line was well matched to the audience with its subtheme of the old guard trying to hang on to power, while a new and upcoming generation is doing its best to usurp it.
Although the performance was quite entertaining, the whole experience is what I found most engaging. The live performance itself is old school, but the supporting tech looked digital. My next long form article will touch on how new hi tech (new media) can give old forms of storytelling new life.
I do believe there are many element of theater that can be applied to a video production. The planning and talent that goes into these productions is spectacular.
I am amazed at the choreography of all the stage elements. The lights, the sound effects, the band, and the stage props all popping in on cue and departing in the same manner. I did spend some time watching the guy in the control room and the lighting. During intermission I peeked into the control room through a window. It does look like there is some mighty fun equipment in there. I would like to take a tour someday.
I was particularly impressed by the skillful focusing of the audience attention. As far as I could identify this was done with lighting, action, and dialog. Just as a magician uses sleight of hand to entertain an audience, theatrical productions use sleight of stage.
The cast was terrific. The leads were played with wonderful insight and charisma. I also enjoyed the playful dialog of the actors with the audience.
Actors, Stories, and the Audience
The actors were great, but that is what everyone notices. I am as interested in, and sometimes even more interested in, what is going on around the central subject. What is at the boundaries of black and white? What happens when the message hits the receiver?
I did notice what I think was an interesting behavior of many audience members during stressful moments in the play. These were subtle movements that may be difficult to see in individual people during face to face encounters. The unique environment of the theater is what makes these observations possible. I am sure this is something the ushers could verify. Ushers and regular theater goers should have enough experience to confirm if these are indeed stress related behavior patterns. I imagine ushers and theater goers can also identify additional behaviors caused by the emotions associated with regularly occurring story elements.
After the performance was over I had the good fortune to briefly chat with one of the lead actors.
Another interesting behavior I noticed with this audience demographic is that they do not like to engage in conversation with strangers. Could it be that they think the subject of the play may unfold in their own lives if they talk to strangers?
Confirming the “don’t talk to strangers” trait may be one of the most interesting insights of the event. I have been thinking about this audience psychographic trait ever since I left the theater. The “don’t talk to strangers” trait does have some rather large implications for most of the shows I do, as well as how they are promoted. This group was the polar opposite of the VidCon crowd.
I wanted to get a photo for this blog before I left. However, the people I attempted to have a conversation with, so I could ask them to take a photo, acted as though I had the plague. They looked quite indignant that I would attempt to actually talk with them. Eventually, I ask two young girls who were happy to help. I also did a picture of them. As I was waiting for the traffic to clear so I could depart unhindered, I notice a group of people in the same situation of not having a camera person. Being the helpful and cheerful person I am, I volunteered to be the phone camera photographer. It turns out one of the people in that party teaches video in high school.Follow me on Google + to comment and connect