So last night was First Night for Black Comedy and what an excellent night it was too. Two nights to go and seats are still available for Saturday if you know of anyone who needs a good laugh.
From the actor’s perspective First Night is a journey of discovery. Whilst professionals usually have the advantage of preview nights to test and refine with an audience we face an audience for the first time not really knowing what the reactions will be. Will they laugh at that line, that move? And it works the other way too, during the performance you can find people laughing at lines or actions that you never realised were funny.
So First Night requires not just a case of settling those nerves but also managing the unexpected, unanticipated reactions of the audience and working with it. But beware. Every audience is different so whilst lessons learned from the first night can be used to anticipate and enhance the performance don’t be surprised if the laughs come in different places.
But that is what makes live theatre so rewarding – it is a communication with the audience, a two-way interaction – not just for the actors but for the audience too.