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Seats On Stage

March 23, 2007

The New York Times has an interesting article about people sitting on stage during theater productions. I've always liked to be as close to the actors as I can and I think that certain productions lend themselves very well to on-stage seating. I've also enjoyed being on stage during orchestral performances (The Vienna Philharmonic) and rock concerts (Prince) too. If you can forget about feeling self-conscious up there, you get an experience like no other.

But I don't think that sitting on stage works for every kind of live performance experience. It can be distracting. I found this to be the case when I attended a performance of Spelling Bee at the Post Street Theatre in San Francisco about a year ago. Audience members sit on stage for a good portion of the show. They're actually part of the show. They get shepherded around by ther performers and eventually knocked out of the spelling competition, one by one. I don't think their presence on stage added to the experience. One or two of the people up there kept grimacing. I wanted them all knocked out of the competition sooner so I could just enjoy the show.

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