I’m feeling very emperor’s new clothes here. Er. . . that was dull. Irritating. Condescending. Adolescent. I’m sorry, that’s not a terribly nice way to begin. But the gloves are off, aren’t they?
In my experience (Friday) the “plants” were not nearly so obvious as in that NY review Galen pointed us to (thanks, Galen). The people behind me chattered non-stop and sang along, causing me to move halfway through, and there was some more misbehavior, but it only reached the level of annoyance/confusion. Since I came in three minutes before the show began and lost my program in the move, I never read the text. Oops. Perhaps that invalidates my entire comment. . .
Let me start over. What did Wampler want from the audience? What did she want to happen to us? We were all stirred up by the plants around us–some to imitation of their energy, some to irritation. So then we find out they were plants and feel, I don’t know, like chumps? Justified? Manipulated? Alienated? It’s not too hard to confuse, manipulate, or alienate, so I can’t see that as an achievement.
Clearly I’m getting nowhere in this response. I just don’t understand what Wampler wanted. In the continuing saga of performer-audience relations, her apparent level of frustration with the audience is. . . well, unreasonable? People have a limited range of things they are willing to do in public. They have their self-respect, they have their manners. Are these such bad things?
Start over (again). Perhaps this was meant to be cathartic and judgment free. Something for everybody: hate for the haters and love for the lovers, something to feel, to get into. That’s the most generous interpretation I can come up with. But even so. . .
People just aren’t that simple. Even audience members.