Friday, January 22, 2010

In the Chamber, out of the target audience

The Creative Communications Class of 2011 has been blogging about the Manitoba Theatre Projects performance of In the Chamber that they attended Jan. 14, 15 or 16.

The two one-hour performances, essentially monologues, nominally dealt with human factor analysis, a concept that does not guarantee a sparkling evening of theatre.

But IMHO actors Gordon Tanner and Steven Ratzlaff delivered gripping performances of men losing their minds while alienating their implied onstage audiences.

Many of the 70-plus students found the plays challenging; I did, too.

What surprises me about the students' reactions, though, is their frequently expressed resignation: I did not understand this because I am too young. I'm not in the target audience.

Yvonne Raymond, for example, writes:

"But then again, what do I know about these plays? I’m just one of those 20 something-year-olds who doesn’t get ‘grown-up talk’.

And I’m certain I didn’t get the ‘grown-up talk’ because the rest of the non-CreComm-35+ audience was laughing hysterically."

This is not a criticism of Yvonne. She expresses a widespread reaction clearly, even plaintively.

But people who are smart enough to get into CreComm are smart enough to understand just about anything. All they need to do is ask.

So, students; ask those 35+ers what was so funny. Ask about the unfamiliar music and the German-accented voice-over (Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Friedrich Nietzsche).

Don't let the notion of target audiences intimidate you. Come out of hiding and make yourself a target.