Picture this: you and a friend go to the theatre one night, and you see a really f@%#ing good play.
What makes a really f@%#ing good play, you ask?
For the sake of argument, let’s define a really f@%#ing good play as anything with people in it that makes you care. A lot. A play that absorbs you so completely, that engages your emotions so deeply, that when the curtain comes down, the lights go up, and you and your friend (let’s call him Bob) stumble out to your car, the following exchange could potentially take place:
Bob thinks that Susan became completely irredeemable as soon as she did such-and-such. You disagree. You think that if only George hadn’t been so stubborn as to refuse this-and-that, Susan would never have been put into a situation in which such-and-such was even on the table. Besides which, I’m sorry, how could you POSSIBLY be siding with George after what he—Well, what would YOU have done?—Me? Well, obviously, I would have told Kathy everything! Who cares about Jimmy’s stupid pride? That would’ve prevented—You’re telling me you have no sympathy for—No, none at all. And frankly, Bob, it makes me a little sick to my stomach to hear you—
And Bob decides he’d rather walk. In the rain.
I’m not suggesting that the point of theatre is to make you fight with your friends, only that if you’re emotionally invested enough in what you’ve just seen that you’re willing to risk hypothermia because you feel so strongly about the actions of people who do not exist, that play clearly had an effect.
But. What if.
What if, instead of all this drama between you and Bob taking place in the parking lot across the street, what if it went down in the theatre? What if it was actually part of the play? Imagine: You walk into the theatre knowing nothing about these people or their problems. But after an hour and a half, Susan and George and Kathy and Jimmy are your friends, your closest friends, and your argument with Bob about them not only occurs in public but furthers the plot.
Is this possible? Can you get an audience so invested in a story that they feel they have enough of a stake in its outcome to want to shape it themselves? And at the same time, can you make them feel empowered enough to try to actually do it?
I have no idea. But I’m dying to try.