Last time, I talked about how directors “punctuate” what playwrights do with their use of stage direction, some called for by the playwright, but, if the playwright knows what he’s doing, most simply added by a director the playwright trusts.
This time, I want to talk about reality. Here’s where you, the potential (and I hope, actual!) audience come in.
Reality doesn’t consist of an audience member or critic saying, “That isn’t realistic.” Playwrights create a world that isn’t beholden to any “common” sense of the physical world, or the world that most people know.
As a result, the reality that playwrights care about, and the reality their audience cares about is internal consistency.
What do I mean?
Well, it’s like this: does a character’s action or lack of action or choice make sense in what we’ve seen the character do or not do or choose before? Is what happens in the play CONSISTENT WITH THE WORLD THAT THE PLAYWRIGHT HAS CREATED, INCLUDING THE CHARACTERS IN IT?
That’s the only reality that matters, internal consistency.
This issue is why playwrights workshop their material, providing drafts of it to fellow authors whose sense they trust to tell them if the internal consistency of a work is what it should be.
So, based on last post, and this post, you can now see that a musical stage production is a four-cornered partnership (at least in this case), a partnership including someone writing the story, the spoken text, and the lyrics (that’s me); the music (that’s Lydia); the fully developed action on the stage (the director); and the totality of the experience. This last ingredient is something the audience fully participates in.
Talk to any performer after a performance, and they’ll tell you that an audience was responsive or not, and this responsiveness or lack of it contributed to a particular night’s experience for those on the stage and those watching what took place on the stage.
Lars lost his battle with