Oh yes, you read it right. I am planning to talk about the consumer driven theatre not audience oriented theatre. Well, if you’ll ask me what exactly is the difference between the two then I would answer you in just one word – mood.
Let me have the privilege of explaining the term ‘mood’. I understand it as the treatment given to a story and the overall nature of the play. The thoughts that a play induces into your mind are largely responsible for setting up the mood. In due course of time, many stories with similar premises create a collage of the different shades of the same mood. Further, this leads to the origination of a genre but we are confining ourselves to the ‘mood’ only.
Till now, we have discussed about the reasons of changing the basic mindset towards theatre and why it should be commercialised. We also talked about the process of commercialisation, and now it’s the time to carry forward the thread by understanding the synergy between the consumer and the product.
The rule of demand and supply is more or less applicable to every form of business and theatre production is also a business, may be an idealistic one.
Here, the producers also think of propagating noble ideas besides generating revenue. Many of them will happily agree to cut down on the profit margin if they are promised a goodwill in return. They would also do so because they would like to believe that their productions are either creating awareness or contributing positively to the social empowerment process. In both the cases, they are supposed to take care of the audience in such a way which would present theatre as something utilitarian.
So, if we are agreeing on the fact that utilitarian theatre is needed then we’re understanding it as a people friendly product. What should be the nature of this product and who should control it? The approach would be pro-people and the public would be the ultimate controller but it shouldn’t reduce the value of the playwrights and producers.
Doing so is difficult but very much possible. The director is not just a gatekeeper who will decide the ideal recipe of a public oriented play but he is the thinker who will change the ingredients in order to enhance its value.
The neo-cinema movement in America can be cited as an example in this context. The major Hollywood studios had to leave the ultimate authority with the directors because they were coming up with the products which had a connect with the society.
Tell me, what’s the point of bombarding a common person with the capsules of heavy duty information if he is not going to take it seriously? So, the participation should be encouraged where the audience would dictate the terms.
I am not very clear how exactly this can happen but we definitely need to do this. The basic argument of the whole article may look flawed and confused to you but the point of consumer driven theatre is required to be put on the public domain, so that it could initiate a debate.