The theatre took what began as a way of simply saying thank you and turned into an integral part of the performance. Choreographed, planned and practiced: we were able to easily identify the many types of arches today. The handy ensemble arc shows solidarity with all the cast, the small sheep bow for the modest actor or even the intense left-right stage arc for the actor who tries to soak every last drop of fame. At the end of the show, the cheers on these bows can be a cathartic release for the audience – perhaps the first step in the treatment of the art you just saw on stage. From celebrities who are lenient to performers who are not yet famous, there is one language they certainly have in common: the Arc. As we wrote new training tracks for the actors in the Medea Hotel`s night trilogy (2006-2012), we faced many challenges. Professional actors are not trained to manage public participation. They are trained to act. And no matter how good they do, their skills are specific to a form of theatre that does not involve intimate relationships with the audience. Therefore, when faced with individual audience reactions, actors may not have the skills to deal with unexpected and nuanced reactions.
Most of the key moments in the Medea Hotel trilogy were very difficult for the actors to negotiate, as they had to maintain their predefined fictional role, while encouraging the individual audience to play the role-playing game, both with a subtle performance « sound » that would not dominate or alienate the audience. Other problems encountered in the first iterations of our work resulted from actors too anxious to involve the public. Less experienced cast members, while playing fictitious roles, sometimes tried to encourage the audience to participate, which had the opposite effect for the audience. Without proper training, the actors also misjudged the « tone » of their comedy, as they euthanized the audience at 2 a.m. It was a delicate moment in the story where the maids (played by actors) were responsible for the children of Medea (played by the public). In the first iterations of the production, viewers ran the risk of feeling dominated by the actors when their « tone » performance was too powerful, although this turned out to be one of the most successful and memorable moments of the night`s trilogy. Those who, through years of practice, understand how problematic the term immersive can be must take responsibility for taking care of responsible and rigorous interpreters and practitioners in order to promote excellent artistic practice, especially in interactive projects. Because if we don`t, no one else will.
We must be more than models of ethical and responsible practice. As practitioners, we need to share our methods.