The joy of a collective experience

We just came off the fifth installment at Metro of Alien Queen: The Concert and the second installment of Battlestar Fantastica!  What a way to kick off the Halloween weekend. Both of these innovatious productions reminded me first and foremost about the collective experience of joy that art and entertainment can create, and why live performance is such an important medium for this collective experience.

I had more than one person come up to me during the evening to thank me for bringing this show back. They had the biggest smiles on their faces. It was fulfilling to me to see people who had been to previous installments bring their new friends and prepare them for their virgin experience. A friend who attended commented on the power of watching and hearing everyone sing along at the top of their lungs to Bohemian Rhapsody. You can’t get that just anywhere.

One of the blogs I follow is from a Broadway producer, Ken Davenport. He recently quoted Don Harris, Paramount Pictures’ President of Distribution, who said:

Ultimately, it gets back to why there's still a theatrical business, why people still go to the movies.  We want to laugh in a group, we want to be scared in a group, people like to cry in a group in the dark where nobody can see them crying. It's all the reason movie theaters exist and this genre has always been front and center.

As I wrote about in a previous blog, this collective joy experienced by our audience members is an impact I am thrilled to make. Now, let’s talk about the explosion of gender, exposure of new voices and perspectives, exploration of power, and celebration of rebellion that both Alien Queen and Battlestar Fantastica! offer to people in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. It’s funny to me how little people experience these deeper elements. I am curious if the collective experience of this explosion, exposure, and celebration is a foundational element in creating that joyous energy in the room or are those factors just additional treats to the music and humor?

Come on December 10th to the final installment of 2011 and let me know what you think.  You know I always love hearing your thoughts.