Clapping for Tinkerbell

I wrote a post a little while back in which I talked about actors dancing n a play dancing down the aisles, and contrasted that with one’s experience at the cinema.

Recently I saw a production of Peter Pan, which only reinforces that difference in my mind. As you probably know, at a crucial point in the play, someone turns to the audience and asks them to clap to bring Tinkerbell, the beloved fairy of Neverland, back to life.

To me, this is one of the purest expressions of the difference between live theater and movies. It simply would not make sense to ask a movie audience to do anything to change the course of the movie. That is way outside of the implied contract between filmmakers and film audiences.

As someone pointed out in the comments recently, audiences can take it upon themselves to create their own show, has happens in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. But that seems to me to be an entirely different form of community engagement, a connection between audience members yes, but not between performers and audience.

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