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An Opinion – On Continuing Trends in Theatre and The Fourth Wall

My girlfriend is afraid of live theatre.


When I invite her to a show, she panics and asks, “Will I have to do anything?”

I think one of the simplest parts of appealing to movie-goers (i.e. people who haven’t been to a theatre-theatre since Beauty and the Beast at the Arts Club when they were twelve but have seen every Iron Man movie twice on the big screen) is respecting the fourth wall. People who see movies aren’t used to being involved as participants. And while you should expect to be extremely mentally engaged by A Behanding in Spokane, I’m happy that LML are establishing a mandate of choosing plays that don’t engage audiences physically.
To see a real live person chained to a radiator struggling to get free right in front of your eyes is a moving, exhilarating feeling that only live theatre can offer. But for that person to look you in the eyes and directly ask you for help can be off-putting and take you out of your observer role in the story. Putting an audience off is obviously often the intention behind performer-audience interaction, and making an audience active in the story is a necessary device for some shows. But in A Behanding in Spokane, I think the characters and events will be off-putting enough without involving the audience directly. Like when you go see a movie, we want you to stay an observer, not to interact with our play but simply to react to it.
We’d like to tell you a story. All you have to do is listen and watch.

Matt Clarke,
Producer / Director, Little Mountain Lion Productions

Little Mountain Lion Productions’ A Behanding in Spokane – A Play by Martin McDonagh continues its crowd-pleasing run of shows now through until July 28th.
Tickets are available clicking here, and more information can be found here.
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