Hello, this is Lauren Romagnano again reporting on the second colloquy today. This roundtable discussion focused on the original practices of Shakespeare’s time and the effect this can have on an audience. Today’s colloquy is led by Kara Northway with Ella Hawkins, Christa Reaves, Greg Fiebig, Patricia Wareh, Marc Juberg, Jake Cornwell, Elizabeth Hughes, Michelle Manning, Myfanwy Marshall, Clara Biesel, and Brooke Spatol presenting.
The group split into three teams to cover and ask questions on each paper. The first team, comprised of Hawkins, Juberg, and Manning, discuss some commonalities between their papers, but what most draws their attention is original practices. Hawkins begins this discussion by commenting on the audience’s perspective and how that perspective will hinge upon the look of a production before anything else. Juberg adds that space does play a factor, but more so on what is done with the space. Manning adds that the aesthetics of a production can add layers to the authenticity.
The second group, comprised of Fiebig, Marshall, and Northway, discuss the roles of audiences in specific productions. Fiebig discusses his work which focuses on a production of Measure for Measure where the audience was allowed to vote on whether Isabella marries the Duke. Five times out of eight, he notes, the audience votes for a marriage. Marshall discusses her own classes which, upon seeing a production of Macbeth, discovered the varying perspectives audience brought to performances based on their past experiences, such as other theatrical experiences, historical contexts, films, or only the text. However, some of these students were quick to note how their own experience changed when they noticed the other audience members, adults and actors, as fellow theatre-goers. Northway concludes by delving into the varying modes of theatre-goers and how this can affect the performance for all in the room, including the actors.
The third group, comprised of Cornwell, Hughes, and Spatol, discuss what original practices are and where they originate. Cornwell begins with his experiences with OP, beginning in undergrad, which led towards questions of whether original practices can be done well singularly or whether it is an all or one deal. Hugues expands upon her own experiences with OP by mentioning its many branches and how contemporary theatre can be furthered through the uses of OP. Hughes also comments on the differences between performing authentically and performing with OP. Spatol then discusses her own experiences, specifically in terms of lighting, and delves into how universal lighting allows for more audience interaction between both actors and fellow audience members.
FInally, the fourth group, comprised of Reaves, Biesel, and Wareh, discuss the audience’s reactions to well known stories and endings. Biesel begins by discussing the magic and joy that original practices can bring to the stage before moving to discuss how the audience can bring a lot into the room through their willing choices of interacting with what is on stage. Reaves in turn discusses the audience reaction to knowing the definitive end of the show and how they often desire a different, more pleasing resolution. Wareh expands on this by stating that audiences tend to want to change the ending. She remarks this desire arises because many see a reflection of themselves in these performances and scenes.
Fiebig aptly concludes this session by commenting that these practices, ultimately, are about the storytelling that is accomplished with and through the audience.