Audience experience of live performance


Live performance is real-time. A video recording of a live performance is not the same as the event itself.

Similarly, your experience of being present in a live performance depends largely on where the event takes place and factors such as other members of the audience, their behavior, lighting, and acoustics of the room, besides the performers themselves of course.

I write this because I noticed a clear difference in the way I experienced Kealoha’s delivery of his poetry in two locations at Maui College on Monday 18th April 2011.

In the classroom in a standalone building (a bungalow), with the air conditioning switched off, all eyes and ears on the young Hawaii poet from Honolulu, I experienced Kealoha’s performance in its rawest, purest form. I felt the impact. I was also aware of his effect on others. Everyone sat immobile, staring at the young poet until the performance was over.

In contrast, the large multi-purpose room with loud air conditioning noise and people walking around, getting their lunches, finding their seats, talking, movement, was not optimal for receiving Kealoha’s final performance. I sat in the back row and witnessed the chaos of people trying to get settled. Even with a microphone, standing on stage, Kealoha’s delivery did not reach those audiences in the back because of the movement and noise.

These two experiences show how important it is to set the right environment for a performance to take place.

I am sure it was harder to perform in the big room than in the smaller classroom. Getting everyone’s attention requires getting rid of all ambient noise and movement.

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Filed under audience, communication, concert, review, video

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