Towards the end of theater director Peter Brook’s The Empty Space, he recalls heading a production where, still in role, the cast asked the audience to sit in silence after the play was finished. Ten minutes was all they wanted.
After a performance it is usual to head out straight out of the space. That’s what makes this request so fascinating. The audience is to soak in what they witnessed in the same space as it just transpired. It takes on an almost meditative frame of mind that prolongs the eventual rush and banter out of the theater.
This can certainly be taken as a personal stance: taking five minutes or so after a concert to sit and take in what was just heard as others file out. Though I wonder if a sort of collective meditation can be asked of the audience like in Peter Brook’s case.
Could one get more out of a performance through doing this little ritual? Would it really matter?