I partook in Grapes of Wrath as my first offering at the Zachary Scott Theatre here in Austin as it barrels on toward summer unapologetically, and I come away with two things:
The tyranny of heightened expectations, and the rules for Standing Ovations.
I paid $40 for the ticket, and another $7.50 because Zach cuts off their internet sales at some point before 3:00 day of show and I had to spend 90 second talking to box office staff.
For $47.50 I expect a lot. I expect polished finished sets, and a little flash. I expect moderately comfortable accommodations. I expect consistent great performances. And all things told? The set was clean and appropriate, and I always love rain on stage. The actual accommodations weren’t bad, though the people traffic wasn’t my favorite.
But the performances were uneven, and for half a day’s take home (and three times what I charge) I want my ass kicked. Make no mistake, there was greatness on stage last night. Janelle Buchanon Jarret Mallon, and Marc Pouhe were everything I love in performance. And the musical choices, performances, and singing were top notch.
But there was a tad too much hee haw for me in what is at its core a funeral march. Not that it can’t have it’s lighter moments of course. Not that it doesn’t NEED it’s lighter moments. For me those lighter moments shouldn’t equal slapstick with a play that has this tone.
And you know what? I’m being unfair. I liked the show. I had a good time. But I paid a lot for my ticket, and I want the moon.
And of course the audience stood at the end.
The “inflated A” of the theatre world.
Look. I stand because I have to. Because I have no choice. Because something intangible reached down, latched on just below my heart and dragged me to my feet.
If I stand at your show? I’m not being polite. Applauding is polite. Standing is (or should be) the 30% tip of the performance world.
I ain’t clapping because your famous and making an entrance, and I ain’t standing because I paid $50 ( or $100 or $200) for my ticket.
You want a standing ovation from me? Knock it out of the park.