I always say to my theater students, “A surgeon can’t let the patient die on the table.” In the theater sometimes we just let the patient die, and at the end of the show we wake up and we all applaud and go home. To me that is the thing we have to fight, to really own the theater and make it vital and necessary in the 21st century. There are too many other forms that we can’t compete with. I also tell my students and colleagues about working in opera because now I do as much opera as [I do] theater. What I love about the opera is the way the audience is so passionate about what they see on the stage, almost like sports fans. They will not accept what they don’t like and they will be vocal about it.
|Thaïs, 2008. Photo: Met Archives|
When it was over I went backstage and the French stage manager was mortified. She said, “I’m so sorry. That was so embarrassing.” And I said “It’s great! I wish we could be like this in America.” Do you really wanna be boo’ed? I know it’s a terrifying thing to really put on the table, but part of me almost wants to take it that far. If they want to quietly watch, that’s fine. If they want to stand up, or cheer, or boo, or talk, they can. Freedom, that’s my interest. How an audience can be free to have whatever response.
(Edited with permission).
What do you think - is that a terrifying idea? Can you imagine that happening in New York City?