Today we went and ran the first half of Peter Pan for a group of 7-9 year olds at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. It made me realise I've learned a lot from working on so many shows for young people.
I'm not sure I would understand how important the audience is if I had only written for adults. I might be more nervous about showing the work after only 2 weeks rehearsal, but not now.
Writers are all too often protected from the audience that they are working for. The amount of times I've sat watching a show for adults thinking that a 9 year old just wouldn't put up with some of the self-indulgent crap that an adult audience think is somehow good for them; like church or...green tea. If only the writer had seen a run-through of the show with a bunch of young people yawning and eating crisps and saying 'What's he doing that for? Who's she talking to?', while they had a chance to change it.
Even if the play is meant for adults it is good to have that nagging 10 year old voice in your head saying 'I think this is shit-boring, I wonder what would happen if he/she/it fell over right now or a cow fell from the rigging....look at that man's nose. It's massive.' Cut, cut, CUT!
And that doesn't mean you have to constantly entertain them. Far from it. But everything in your play has to get to them somehow. It has to make them uncomfortable, or laugh or recognise their own situation so they stare at the actors like they are magic. Staring up thinking 'Wow! What will happen now?'
I think the performers were happy today. They realised they were getting it, the audience were leaning forward and silent. I think the show is going to be a good one. I'm excited.
And look! Alors! Je suis en français.