Production – the value of audience

January 10, 2019
Bob Eckhard



Hope you are keeping well and writing lots. Sorry for the absence on social media just recently but I’ve been producing a comedy farce this month written under a pseudonym – find it here 

Now, unlike the writing resources I normally post , today I would like to outline an interesting observation about the value of editing work under the spotlight of ‘live’ performance. That is…

What the audience voluntarily and involuntarily tells the writer about their script?

Having rehearsed the play for two weeks and last night being the first performance – I was on several occasions surprised when the audience didn’t laugh at a moment that the cast and myself thought funny. Conversely, we were equally surprised and mystified when a serious moment proved hilarious to them.

Don’t get me wrong – there was plenty of laughter. But it was the anticipated jokes that never materialised that was the baffling part which I think relates to the audience being interrupted from the journey they are on as something goes awry in the script or the acting – actually, isn’t this the whole point of well structured writing and concise editing of dialogue and prose?

In terms of the farce itself, what I’ve concluded are these possible explanations as to why it went awry at times…

  • the writer (me) hasn’t adequately crafted the scenario for the comedic moment to occur?
  • a case of poor timing by the actor/s on the delivery of the joke?
  • other things happening on stage that interrupts the audience’s train of thought so they miss the joke?
  • misremembered or poor dialogue in the set up which confuses the audience when the comedic line is delivered…
  • the joke was simplistic and not funny to this audience but might on another day be funny for another
  • (and so on)

Fortunately, the director and myself have a chance to address those things today but the writer who sends a spec script to a competition or producer might not. All of which leads me to me main point – that being

  1. the importance of a crafted script where every word justifies its place and none of them unintentionally mislead  or take people out of the story.
  2. the value of having scripts read/performed by actors to an audience – possibly friends sitting round actors at a table read – to see how well the comedy works, etc

(and the same will be true for other genres in regard to the beats where drama, horror, fear occur).

Til next time….


Comments are closed.