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Director’s notes 8 – Kick start their hearts!

One of the aims of performance is to take the audience into an experience or a story. This is different watching TV at resting heart rate on the couch.

A well performed theatrical piece will arrest the hearts or minds of the audience. It must arouse emotion and awaken the audience from its resting heart rate, and suspend them into a different state of feeling and being.
After all, if the performance fails to arouse, touch, move or trigger discomfort, then the whole ensemble, director, producers, and writer have not created a theatrical experience. 

This is a hot topic of contention in the arts, particularly in cross disciplinary arts practice. It doesn’t matter if it the performance provides escapism or fantasy, whether the story is delivered with sound or in silence – it’s the AFFECT that matters. We want the audience to be AFFECTED by the story, performance or message. 

Some producers market the work through having a famous lead actor, nudity, burlesque, sex scenes or circus tricks to create interest or shock value. Whilst these techniques may attract curiosity they can often mask or detract from the story, or try to fill in for a lack of story. 

PUMP Theatre being a shoestring indie cannot afford to hire famous actors – and in some ways we are not interested in doing so. That’s a bit pretentious for our fit out. We want to AFFECT ordinary people’s hearts, non theatre goers and the members of the community in which we live and breathe. 

Think about it

What arrested your heart today?
What affects you?
How do you affect others?
Thanks for reading!

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