When the director of a theatre performance creates a show, they should always sit in more than one seat. That’s the advice I used to give acting students who wondered why I would dart around the auditorium like a coked-up bluebottle during every scene. In a 500 seat theatre, you’re making 500 different performances, as each member of the audience has their own unique viewpoints, their own unique angle, their own level at which they view the story playing out on the stage and, occasionally, a lanky sod in a hat, sat right in front of their £85 seat.
When the director of a theatre performance creates a show, they should always sit in more than one seat.
In every situation we have our own unique view. We make an interpretation of every event, every human, every interaction based on the angle with which we view it. Not in a literal sense of course. If we don’t like what someone’s saying, it doesn’t do much good to slip round the side and try it from there. They don’t like it when you do that. Your brain has an angle, a viewpoint, a level, and it’s that performance we watch, not anyone else’s – and here’s the thing – your angle might differ radically from the directors.
How many times have you said “I really didn’t like them…” after meeting someone for 5 minutes or – if you believe in the power of such things – fallen in love at first sight?
Metaphor aside we sometimes wonder why we don’t like what we’re seeing or why we’ve fallen for someone or why we’re inexplicably and forcefully reminded of someone or something. How many times have you said “I really didn’t like them…” after meeting someone for 5 minutes or – if you believe in the power of such things – fallen in love at first sight? We don’t often think too carefully about, putting it down to instinct, the magic of the universe or the power of intuition. It’s not; those interpretations only tell half the story. The truth is that we’re looking at it from our own unique angle, and we call this projection.
We don’t see things as they truly “are”; we can only understand them through our own experiences. This means that if we don’t like someone and aren’t sure why its often because they reflect part of ourselves – a memory, an experience, an emotion, maybe part of our own personalities. The people that we end up loving and hating the most reflect the parts of our psyches that we have suppressed. In other words, what you’re seeing is something that is convenient or useful or easy right now because it fits a pattern that you expect, based on whatever you’re reminded of. Until, for whatever reason, it doesn’t anymore.
In a cinema it doesn’t matter which seat you sit in, what you see is controlled by what’s being thrown onto the screen.
So, just like in a cinema, parts of our psyches (the light) is thrown against a person (the screen) and we (the audience) watch the story play out. In a cinema it doesn’t matter which seat you sit in, what you see is controlled by what’s being thrown onto the screen. This can be helpful and it can be destructive. In a theatre it’s different: you’re put in a seat and that’s what you see – it’s uniquely yours and doesn’t tend to change. There’s one more part to the story.
You’re not an audience member in your own life, you’re a director. You can sit in every seat if you choose to. This will allow you to not be a passive observer of your own life but an active and responsive experiencer, looking at every angle, seeing every point of view and forming your final opinion on whether you still don’t like what you see, or whether you love it. Until someone sits in front of you in a hat, but that’s a whole other psychological circumstance.