This Week’s Insights: A debate over audience trigger warnings… Virtual models that let you see inside someplace you can’t go… Helping audiences become activists… Are you the vehicle or the competitor?… Should reading be a competition?
- Trigger Warnings At Theatres: A Good Idea? On the one hand, warning an audience before they see something that might be shocking or loud or unexpected might be a good service. On the other, it spoils surprise, and it might dissuade some from attending. Besides, how can you describe something perhaps meant to shock without lessening the impact of the moment? So what do the experts say?
As part of his PhD research on theatre spectatorship at the University of Toronto, Scott Mealey interviews many audience members and says he’s “shocked” by the level of anxiety many of them “seem to feel as they encounter theatre, especially if it seems unfamiliar in some way. The more I talk about it the more stories people offer me.”
- Making The Inaccessible (Or Fragile) Accessible To Audiences: Many interesting places are not accessible either because they’ve been damaged and are unsafe (earthquakes, etc) or are too fragile to have hordes wandering around them. Now research scientists have created intricate 3D virtual models that allow people to explore and experience them online. Not the same as the real thing, obviously, but still…
- Motivating Audiences Into Becoming Activists: Increasingly, arts organizations are trying to make a case for how their work is relevant to their communities. Partly that means motivating audiences to want to take action or work on an issue. Tita Anntares writes about two recent productions — one depicting a U.S. immigrant’s deportation hearings, another the monologue of the ghost of a young Black Panther shot by Chicago police in 1969 — that actually moved their audiences to into taking actions on those issues.
- When The Vehicle Becomes The Competitor: Netflix used to be the vehicle – a way for companies like Disney to get their movies to audiences. But as tech giants such as Netflix and Amazon and now Apple have moved into the production business themselves, the old-style producers such as Disney are starting their own streaming services. Now former allies have become competitors. Who’s likely to lose? You’re not wrong if you said audiences, who, though there will be more to choose from, will have to pay more players to get what they want.
- Should Reading Be A Competitive Sport? Dumb question? Well, consider a growing segment of readers who revel in being able to tout the number of books they’ve read. It feels… competitive. But what are such readers trying to prove? That they’ve taken in a lot of knowledge? The point is, the act of reading is rarely a simple case of ‘finish one, start another one’—it’s an endless overlapping conversation between reader and page, an imprecise gumbo of genres and moods and facts and jokes and… cliffhangers.