Playgoing and Participation
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When a play becomes part of a theatrical event, anything that happens on stage will have meaning, give pleasure, or cause uncertainty according to how the audience receives it.1 In one way, this makes judging its effect easier because we can all be members of an audience and use our own experiences to elucidate what happens on any one occasion, but our experiences will differ and we have little means of holding on to passing impressions. In trying to understand a play’s effect on an audience, the best way to start is to stand back and observe other people’s behaviour as well as our own, and to start at the beginning.
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