Audience Talkback

Audience-Reading Best Practices

 

  • Welcome and thank the audience for coming.
     

  • Introduce playwright, actors, director.
     

  • Introduce the play.
     

  • Set expectations for the audience.
     

    • Explain where the play is in the development process

    • “Today we are here for the benefit of the playwright,” i.e. "This is the first time Kelsey is hearing this play from beginning to end, here is her email..."

    • Describe the specific feedback the playwright is seeking from the audience:
       

    • All and any (in person or via email) 

    • General reactions

    • Specific reactions

    • Images that remain with the audience from the story: Readback lines, images, theatricality, etc. 
       

  • Place playwright’s email address in the chat and encourages the audience to forward their written notes or thoughts that arise after the reading.
     

  • Hand off to the stage-directions reader, who begins the reading.
     

  • Post-curtain, thank the actors and audience and invite the audience and actors to remain for a talkback 
     

  • 5-minute break
     

  • Introduce talkback. 
     

  • Begin questions:
     

    • Actor feedback

    • Big picture: What was meaningful to you about this play?

    • Images that remain with the audience from the story:
       

      • Verbal

      • Visual

      • Theatrical

      • Aural

      • Emotional

      • Other
         

  • Things that worked well
     
  • Where the play is less resonant
     

  • How is this play successful in meeting its objectives? (Refer back to playwright’s questions stated at the beginning.)
     

  • How is this play NOT successful in meeting its objectives?
     

  • What inspired you to focus this play on these particular characters in this particular place? 
     

  • What resonates for you? In what ways was it meaningful to you? 
     

  • Possible follow ups:
     

    • What was stimulating? 

    • Surprising? 

    • Evocative? 

    • Memorable? 

    • Touching? 

    • Challenging? 

    • Compelling? 

    • Delightful? 

    • Different or unique?

  • To you, what is the story being told in this play? 
     

  • What interests you about these people?
     

  • What interests you about their circumstances?
     

  • Did you understand the way they communicate?
     

  • Did you remain engaged throughout the play? 
     

  • "If you love this play, we want to know what we need to get it produced"
     

  • In Conclusion: Thank audience for coming, and share the playwright's email with them again.