While the New Century Theatre is not this small, I am about to perform my final weekend of Five Course Love in a fairly up-close and personal theatre space. If you're in the front row not only will my saliva accidentally be flung upon you (sorry for everyone that this has happened to) but you will also be seen.
A favorite line of mine from the film A Mighty Wind is when they are in the theatre and the space manager says, "Yes, and those are lights above us..." Lights which illuminate the stage and happen to spill over off of the stage in a small theatre into the audience that is seated before said stage. What does that mean? I can see you.
Also, because the space is so small and, like a good theatre, sound reverberates off of the walls so well, it makes projection for an actor feel rather relaxed and easy. In FCL we do use mics, but that is because we have a rockin' band and we need to safely sing over them. What does that easy reverb mean? I can hear you.
I am not saying that if you are in a small theatre that you have to pretend to like everything about the show you are seeing. There will be elements that you disagree with or find offensive, and I totally get that. There are just a few things I would like to remind patrons of smaller venues.
1. Usually these smaller venues are houses for work that can be considered "out there." That means they tend to do work rarely seen (like Minneapolis Musical Theatre), new works (like Transatlantic Love Affair and their collaboration with the Illusion) or experimental (many things at Bryant Lake Bowl). All of these works are just as valid and can be just as amazing as what is seen from a big, expensive touring show.
2. Smaller venues mean that you are up-close and personal with the actors on stage. This means that you will be looked at directly. Try not to avoid the eye contact cuz' we'll see that. Know that you might get spat on. We are not doing this on purpose, we just have our mouths open a lot more than you do.
3. If you talk or arrive late, we know. Again, the space is small enough that we will see you arrive late or leave early, and your chatty voices can be heard by us on stage. It is very much a "Golden Rule" situation. If you were giving a presentation on something, anything, would you find it rude if my cell phone went off, or if I had to tell something to my neighbor, or if I couldn't bother to arrive on time? Rudeness is something I cannot tolerate in a theatre of any kind, but it is far worse in a smaller venue.
I know that this was one heck-of-a rant, but I needed to get this out there. It has been bugging me for some time, and now the world knows!
Anyway, Five Course Love closes this weekend (WOW) at the New Century Theatre. Tickets still available through aboutmmt.org and at http://www.hennepintheatretrust.org/events/five-course-love-tickets-new-century-theatre-minneapolis-musical-theatre-2014. They are also sold at the door.
Don't miss this fun, funny, and intimately spaced musical. Make sure you arrive on time with your phone off! Trust me...I'll be able to see. :-)
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