When people know you are in the latter stages of making a new show they often kindly ask “how’s it going?”. I was taught years ago by a wise person to always say “great!” or “brilliant!” because positivity breeds positivity and that helps you finish the show and flogs tickets. In truth it’s sometimes a bit difficult to tell. I’m quite happy with how The Anatomy of Melancholy is shaping up, but does that mean the audience will be happy? Am I so immersed in the world of Robert Burton that I’ve lost my perspective entirely? In one sense it is my job to keep that outside perspective but only in one sense.
Students are keen on asking how much we think of our audience when making a show. The answer is “all the time but probably not in the way you think”. For us making a show is never an ego trip, it is always ‘for the audience’, every decision we make rests on how it will be received by ‘the audience’ but that audience is only ever us, never a mythical/hypothetical other person. The audience of us is us if we’d walked into the show at the start knowing nothing about it, what would we be thinking/feeling now? This sounds like the ego trip – making a show for yourselves, but it’s our imaginary selves who aren’t in the company, aren’t making the show, have rocked up bought a ticket and sat down. What is the alternative? Making a show you don’t like and wouldn’t want to watch? Assuming your audience are dumber, more crass and superficial than you? No, from the start Stan’s Cafe has always been about making theatre we would like to see and trusting that others share our tastes.
I love watching rehearsals of the show so hopefully others will find the performance rewarding. Tickets are selling well and for Friday night we’ve been asked if we can ‘release the Gods’* to make more room. Buy tickets now to avoid the disappointment of missing a show which itself may disappoint – though we’re working hard at making sure it doesn’t.
* Their actual phrase was ‘release the balcony seats’ but where’s the poetry in that?