Many of you may not remember this particular detail about that night, because many of you were concentrating on the men dangling upside down from tightropes on the ceiling or the strobe lights and giant metal wheels. But during the performance of Bromance, one of the boys in the Barely Methodical Troupe was required to enter from through the audience from a House aisle. I had gotten myself locked out of the theatre during this Act change, and found myself in the same aisle as him; in the theatre lobby. It was deadly quiet. I looked down at my coffee—the reason why I was late to the next act—and tried to pretend that I didn’t know this guy was an award-winning former Olympic performer and laureate British celebrity. His YouTube videos had over five million collective views. He’d studied high-risk choreography around the world. He’d won Britain’s Got Talent.
“Hi,” he said. He managed to make juggling four bowling pins at the same time look super causal.
“Hi,” I said.
“What’s up? How you doing?”
“Aren’t you about to perform right now?”
“Yeah, I am. Are you enjoying the show so far?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
“Oh yeah? What was your favorite part?”
The music began and from the crack underneath the lobby door we could see lights flashing.
“So what’s your favorite part?” he said.
I said, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll miss your cue?”
“Nah, it’s cool, so you go here?”
Our conversation continued like this for a while. Eventually he goes, “Oh, I think that’s me. The laughter is my cue,” and enters through the left aisle door. I snuck in behind him. From my seat I watched him endanger his life countless times on stage for an effect that was undeniably…breathtaking. I just couldn’t believe how just a few moments ago he’d casually conducted conversation with a stranger as if he wasn’t about to jump off another man’s shoulders from six feet in the air in ten minutes.
But I guess that’s the wonder of seeing entertainment in a theatre that doesn’t quite set up barriers between audience and performer. The small talk. The talk before or after their big leap on stage that changes everything about the way we are involved in the performance.
NYU Skirball often facilitates a theatre experience where performers directly interact with their audiences; whether through workshops or dialogues.
Performance artists here are often eager to be part of a workplace that encourages them to expand on the message delivered in their art.
But mostly, I can’t believe I got to meet Barely Methodical Troupe!
-Nicole D’Alessio, CAS ’17