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passing by

I’m passing by the summer theatre at Hammersmith. I pause because I think I recognise one of the cast members. I’m immediately approached by an invigilator wearing a high-viz jacket:

Would you like a programme?” No thanks” But it tells you what is happening in front of you” No thanks” But it’s free” How many times do I have to say, No thanks’?”

I regret the sarcasm of my last statement but I’m still wondering just how being told (by a programme) what is happening in front of me is some kind of lure.

I recently read John McGrath’s A Good Night Out and this is what he says:

For not only must the text, mise-en-scène, lighting, performances, casting, music, effects, placing on the stage all be taken into account in order to arrive at a description of the stage event, but also the nature of the audience, the nature, social, geographical and physical, of the venue, the price of tickets, the availability of tickets, the nature and placing of the pre-publicity, where the nearest pub is, and the relationships between all these considerations themselves and of each with what is happening on stage. For when we discuss theatre, we are discussing a social event, and a very complex social event, with a long history and many elements, each element also having a long and independent history.

– McGrath, John. 1981. A Good Night Out. London: Methuen, p.5

In other words, the work of that person in the high-viz jacket is as important as anything that was happening on that open-air stage.

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