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Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite
A lot has changed from decades ago in how audiences react and respond to live performances, whether it's at a concert or a play; they even react differently when watching a movie in a theatre, or TV show, or even sitting in church. Audiences are being drawn into the productions that they encounter, they seem to cut out a piece of the production for themselves to engage with what is being seen. Audience as Performer: The Changing Role of Theatre Audiences in the Twenty-First Century by Caroline Heim offers an in depth depiction of how the call and response of live productions is changing the culture of plays. Caroline has covered every aspect of the theatrical realm, from writing to performance, and personally knows all too well how these changes have, can and will continue to impact either negatively or positively on how the theatre functions moving forward. The added bonus of this book is the questionnaire and interviews of various attendees that will help any reader, especially those that are interested in the arts, to see the evolution of the audience/theatre relationship.
Once I began to reading this book, Caroline took me back to my theatrical days. When creating a live performance production it can become difficult at times to stay in character if someone in the audience reacts to a statement or role that is being acted out before them. People not only want to be entertained, but they have a desire to express themselves as they watch what is unfolding before them, whether it's a statement, song or person that they can relate to. On the other hand, it helps the actor by feeling the energy to give more of themselves when performing. Caroline, thanks for the memories.