Mary (from the comments) on theatre communion:
“I like the communion idea, and I’ve been consciously aware of this on at least a few occasions that come readily to mind.
“A theatre in Rochester, NY, used to have an annual season-ending 2-night playreading festival. I’d go straight from work each night and be there until 11 pm or maybe later (I would’ve happily stayed all night). It was like being part of a secret society or attending a family reunion. The atmosphere was casual and welcoming and exciting, the faces in the audience were friendly, enthusiastic, and familiar, and we’d see the same actors come back year after year, always telling us how they looked forward to this time of year and this special event. I know for a fact that many who attended (both those on and off the stage) felt incredible communion.
“Another example that comes to mind is when I traveled to Toronto on the weekend after 9/11 to see 3 plays. All 3 plays seemed like they had to have been written in response to 9/11, although 2 were at least 50 years old. I vividly recall the impression that nobody in the audience would even dare breathe to break the spell of what we were experiencing. There was none of the common disruptions (coughing, candy-wrapper rustling, phones beeping, etc.). Only rapt silence. I always felt that theatre was my religion, and this weekend cemented that feeling. In the immediate wake of 9/11, everyone was turning to their religion for answers.”
What’s your favourite theatre communion story? Is the sense of shared experience really the best thing about theatre? Counterpoints?