If a tree falls in the woods . . .
You know how this cliche ends, so I’ll spare you. But here’s my version:
If a show is produced, and no one sees it, is it any good?
My answer? No.
A book needs a reader.
A steak needs someone to eat it (sorry, my vegan friends).
And a show needs someone to see it.
Recently, I questioned an author about whether he thought people would want to see what he had written. If he thought people would have an experience at his show that they could somehow relate to and that would move them.
The response went something like this . . .
“I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I didn’t write this for them. This is my play and if people don’t like it or don’t get it, well that’s too bad for them.”
Too bad for him, actually, because I don’t know anyone that would produce a play commercially without thinking about whether it’s going to touch an audience.
Theater is like kindergarten. The first lesson we should learn, before ABCs and 123s, is sharing. If you don’t share with your audience, you’ll be like that kid who ate paste. No one is going to want to play with you. And your mouth will be stuck together and you won’t have a voice anyway.
Writing without thinking about your audience is just selfish and stroking your own ego.
You can do it, and if that’s what you want, then go for it. More power to you.
But don’t come whining to me when you’re the only one in the audience.
What is the sound of one playwright clapping?
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.