Sunday, June 22, 2008

Question for the Reviewer: A Question About Ridiculous Standing Ovations

Dear Mr. Berko,

I was wondering if you could help me to understand the behavior of the local theater audiences.

I grew up in Cleveland and after graduating from Kent State spent most of my adult life in Los Angeles. I moved back to Northeast Ohio to raise my kids nearly four years ago.

In Los Angeles if an audience gave a performance a standing ovation it was because they were compelled to leap from their seats and applaud at the end of the show. Since I have been back I have been to several community productions and at the end of each show the audience staggers to their feet. I imagine this is started by a few friends and family but it seems common practice.

Now I do not get out to the theater much. I teach on-camera acting so it's movies and motherhood for me. I thought after seeing your review of "The Wiz," which I took my family to last night, that you may have some insight with all of your years of experience. I am sure they gave it a standing ovation Thursday as they did last night for a less than compelling performance. What bothered me the most is the lack of character development and arc. The show had no heart. I will applaud song and dance but you have to "move" me to get me out of my seat.

Well if you have gotten this far, I thank you for reading. If you take the time to respond, and I appreciate and value time, I will sincerely be grateful.

Thank you always for your years of insight.

Very Kindly,
Maureen Dempsey