I’m back at Proud Cabaret this evening to take up a Thursday evening residency for November and I was thinking as I packed my show case this morning. I was thinking about the audience. Which is a huge change for someone whose main thought is generally herself. I was always taught as a child that it was better to give than to receive and with a few glaring inaccuracies (who doesn’t love to receive shoes, or pearl necklaces?) it is true. Never more so than in the world of cabaret.
Cabaret is all about the demolition of the fourth wall, it’s about getting up close and personal with an audience, allowing them to be engaged in a show in a way that is not possible with traditional theatre. However, this path comes at a risk to the performer. To lay your art at such close quarters to an unknown quantity requires trust on both sides. To step beyond that fourth wall of comfort into a world of strangers and to make friends and comrades of them and encourage them to put aside their doubts and worries and surrender themselves fully to Madame du Cabaret and allow her to have her wickedly sparkly way with them. It is, however, a two way street, where both parties need to give and take. As a performer, if an audience doesn’t come to you and you go to them constantly they will back ever further away. My first singing teacher said to me, if the audience aren’t coming to you, lean back, sing quieter and they will come. I’m sure she was talking figuratively and not literally. Although, in cabaret, who knows?
So my message to audiences is that you receive the show that you deserve. If you open your heart and be generous of spirit you will receive it back tenfold. It is a simple transaction, you boost my self-esteem by stroking my fragile performer ego with your laughter and applause and I, in return, will crawl over broken glass to make sure I drag the best show possible from the depths of my soul. The power is yours, the audience, to make or break a show, the applause is like a drug on which we performing monkeys thrive. Imagine, if you will, a bait ball rolling in the cabaret depths. A little applause gathers, cabaret performers sense the frisson in the air, they perform and the applause grows, the air becomes static with anti…….cipation and desire. More performances, more laughter and applause and performers scent blood in the water and before you know it, a the tension grows to a screaming climax of whooping, hollering, stunts and cheering and then the show is over. The audience leaves, smiling and happy. The performers loiter, dazed and high as kites and they’ll be back tomorrow for more. Nothing can satisfy me more than an audience of people who are open, willing to laugh and are generous with their applause and laughter. Ideally, if I can leave the stage with the audience chanting my name, more the better! Truly, you get what you deserve and so my darlings, to quote the song, you’ve got to give a little. Scratch that, I want my audiences to give a lot, give it all up and surrender themselves, body and soul to me and I wager they’ll get it back. With interest.
Until next time.