PRINT March 1977

Participation Performance

LIVE RADIO AND TV audiences participate by clapping and laughing on cues from the host, until they do them spontaneously. Some of their members are invited onstage to carry props around, sing, answer questions, or act in skits and competitive games. They thus pass (for a time) from watcher to doer; they are inside the action, generating it. Yet they know they have a relatively minor role. The show is being directed by someone else. They will return, sooner or later, to their seats in the audience. In fact, they never leave their seats in their thoughts.

Such participants are a sort of mobile audience, acting for everyone’s entertainment as if they were real actors. They are “good sports.” They form a bridging device between their group and the show-persons. The MC and his or her staff do not come from a place in the audience. It is where you come from that tells you what you are.

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