My buddy Jeanne is a survey dynamo. She has this gene or something that causes her to light up, attract people to her clipboards and pens and get them to share their thoughts with her. If we get about 10% of every audience to complete a survey, we have more than enough to complete our final reports to the Wisconsin Arts Board. She’s getting closer to 25% of every audience. This is utterly delightful.
I know, I know I must get out more. But I’m being totally honest. I find surveys delightful.
I opted about 10 years ago to move behind the stage. I used to act. I am going to go out on a limb here and state that I had talent. I was good. I had potential. It’s rusted over now. A little WD40 and I can creek it along, but that muscle memory is retired. I’m still an actor at heart though and now surveys and chatting with the audience before and after the show are my applause.
None of us do theatre because we crave a life of solitude. We’re all drawn to the connections that happen. With the audience. With the ensemble. With ourselves. We all need to find those connections in order for the experience to be satisfying. I’m no different. That feedback helps us grow in our craft and in our art. It keeps us going forward.
Theatre people are frequently profiled as being incredibly insecure. As if the reason that we do what we do, beit on the stage or off, is for the attention and adulation that our fragile psyches need.
Theatre people are the bravest people you will ever meet.
Who else do you know who is secure enough to constantly put themselves out there for another person’s approval? Most people avoid living those sorts of lives. Who can stand that kind of constant criticism, favorable or otherwise?
Perhaps I’m feeling a bit full of myself because The Tempest is deservedly SRO and I had a hand in it. I share in the collective pride. I look forward to reading those stacks of surveys. And hearing that applause.
Susan Scot Fry
Uh-oh… I have to read all those! What a happy chore.