OPINION: Unfussy Curtain Calls

Get the **** off stage!  

Here is a bit of as personal and despesarte plea to theatre makers at this year’s Brighton Fringe…

So, the lights fade slowly and we are ready for a fairly silent, dare I suggest, stunned exit. Before even five seconds have elapsed since the final blackout, the lights shoot back up again, and there they stand, zapped out of character disappointingly quickly, and smiling at us like Blue Peter presenters. “Thank you, SO MUCH for coming, please do tell your friends, we are on until the 26th.”  

Another, quicker fadeout. The children are still a bit mesmerised for all the right reasons. They need to exit with the impact still fresh in their imaginations.

At last, an hour of thrilling theatre, and not an advert in sight. And up burst the lights and the two characters who were, moments earlier, a giant and an scary elf, are now two gleeful peddlers of their other show and the shocked kids are zapped out of their precious day dreams back into the world of buy-sell. “Thank you all SO SO MUCH for coming. Just to let you know, we have a two for one on our other show…”  

I wanted to scream a heckle (or is it heckle a scream?). I wanted to stick their email addresses and twitter hashtags right back up their desperate and self-important noses.

We have a right to silence. To breathe in and digest. The few seconds after curtain down are a time for exiting not marketing.

Now, step back for a moment. Shows, and their endings especially, need to resonante in the silence; audiences need to get up and leave after- the curtain has fallen or the lights have faded and curtain calls are over. There really doesn’t need to be an extra bit.

We do not need pisspoor DVD-extras in the form of thank you speeches or social media advert opportunities. I appreciate that there’s a tempting even perecevied-as-necessary opportunity to pitch onwards to the audience, their friends and networks. But the play is the thing and such aftermaths can really spoil the impact.

Performance needs to echo in the silence. We must let it resound. The ending needs no cheesy or needy interruption. Any speeches should come later, away from that echo.

What do you think?