Posted by Rob Riley (Tom in The Crowd You’re In With)
We’re in previews, which means we have audiences in the evening and rehearsals most afternoons. We rehearsed the other day without an audience. We had full tech, lights and costumes—but performed in an empty theater. It felt strange and incomplete.
Then last night, we were in front of an audience again, and THAT felt strange at first. Given the choice, actors always prefer to have an audience. The audience gives us our rhythm and guides us where the show should go. It’s a cliché, but the audience really is a part of the ensemble and the show is not complete without them.
Every audience is different—every audience has its own personality—which makes every performance different. Any time you see a live play, it's a unique experience. You share that with the actors and the other audience members. No one else will ever have the same experience, nor will they see exactly the same show.
This is a big reason why I so deeply prefer working in theater to working in film or TV. (Well, honestly, I'd prefer root canal to film or TV, but please don’t tell any film or TV producers I said that…)