tough nights

Allow me to talk theater. Just a moment.

Last night ...was a tough night.
Among other things: I don't care how big your house is; an audience of nine is not going to enjoy a comedy. NO ONE is going to enjoy it.

I once was in a long-form improv show for an audience of three. In a house that seated 140. That, too, was a tough night.

My friend Jason is theoretically compiling - though I hope it turns into something real - a collection of theater war stories, tentatively titled Punches, Then Flowers. The title comes from his time spent doing improv and sketch in the Netherlands, where, no matter how much the audience seemed to not only dislike but RESENT the show being presented for them, the performers were always, without fail, given flowers.

Surely there should be a website for this. An online forum, where actors and crew everywhere can log on and tell their war stories, recent and distant - because they never end.

I used to work in broadcast news, and there was a site where newscasters everywhere could anonymously post the disasters that would happen during live newscasts. It got so popular that they eventually started charging users for access. (...Jason?)

Now A Newscasting "Punches, Then Flowers" Story:
Newscasting, too, is a somewhat-scripted, thoroughly live form of entertainment with its own cast of divas [anchors], jokers [sports] and socially awkward players [meteorologists].

I was running camera for the Dallas/Ft. Worth NBC-affiliate 10:00 newscast one night when a reporter was covering a story that somehow related to AIDS. To give the disease some context, he casually mentioned -as a side note- live, on air, that AIDS had originated in a group of homosexuals in New York City during the 1970s.

We cut to commercial and the director -who happened to be gay- half bellowed, half shrieked, 'THAT IS NOT TRUE!' There was, nonetheless, no retraction. And many people watching the 10:00 news on channel 5 that night heard that and thought, sure, that sounds right, the gays did start AIDS.

Okay. That was a tough night.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Now that I've been called on the carpet...


For anyone who'd like to contribute some inaugural stories, please email punchesthenflowers (a) gmail.com.