Writing for Yourself: You are the Center of the Panopticon

Too many writers write for other people.  They write for lovers or lost hope or for an unknown, future, audience they hope will like them — when they should really only be writing for themselves.  Every writer is the core of their confounding world.  We are the center of our Panopticonic lives.

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Fake Reactions at The Colbert Report

I attended a taping of The Colbert Report recently and had an excellent time. There was one aspect of the experience that bothered me just a little and I felt that I needed to report about it here. You may be wondering what could have possibly gone wrong in an experience where I got completely free tickets to see one of the funniest political comedians do his show in front of an audience of maybe one hundred people, if that. It was nothing to do with the show itself but rather something that happened during the the preparation time before the show that set me off.

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Always Offend

The transitive definition of the verb “offend” is — “to cause to feel upset, annoyed or resentful” — and I argue today that when you offend an audience in even the smallest way, you have achieved an important human condition that is often missing in the live Modern American theatre experience.

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Against Breaking the Fourth Wall

Think of a live performance stage as having four invisible walls that box in the action area.  When performer then “breaks the fourth wall” that means there is a direct interaction with the audience by shattering the pretend “wall” that invisibly stands between the live space and the perceivers.

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Reading the Audience

If you’ve ever appeared before a live audience — or if you’ve created something that was presented to a live audience for you — you are well aware of the symbiotic power between performer and audience and you have learned to immediately recognize the subtle clues an audience provides to tell you if they’re with you or not.  Getting them with you is hard; keeping them with you is harder.

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