Most performers I know abhor the thought of greeting guests in the lobby after a performance. They nervously wait backstage wondering whether people will be wanting to meet them and what they will possibly say about the show. Audience members as well voice their confusion or dismay at seeing actors break the “fourth-wall” by being present in costume in the lobby. “I was now put in the position which made me uncomfortable. Do I tell them what I really thought of the show as I speak to each one, or do I just smile and say nothing as they thanked me for coming. The other option of just passing up the line was removed by the hallway width and the size of the crowd. Some people were able to squeeze by, but most dutifully greeted the total strangers and had various things to say.”¹ All of this hand-wringing is entirely unnecessary though.
The Sybaritic Singer’s guidance will help you through day 26’s challenge: enjoy the post-show schmooze.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when greeting guests after the performance:
- Change out of your costume.
- Unless it is children’s theatre and/or the theater has a tradition of having the actors greet guests in costume you should relegate the costume to the stage only.
- If you know someone who specifically attended the performance to see you, it is customary to go to the lobby and greet them.
- Keep it short. Simply say, “Thank you for coming. I was so happy to have you in the audience tonight.”
- Unless they want to continue talking – keep moving along.
- If they seem to want to continue talking, engage them in a conversation about the piece. “What did you think of the sets and costumes? Or, how about that dramatic storyline? Have you ever seen the show before?” Etc.
- Smile at other guests while moving back to gather your belongings. Do not lurk about the lobby and seem like you are waiting for someone to compliment you.
- Now is a good time to be a tummler: quickly introduce people who do not know each other – musicians and patrons alike.
- Have a plan with your friends and family so that everyone can move through the crowd efficiently.
Just be your wonderful, ebullient self, dear divas.
Like I always say, “it’s only awkward if you are awkward. Don’t be awkward.”
I totally agree that this is a very smart step. It’s what’s so great about performing at An Die Musik. The relationships that make real audience building can be best fostered over a glass of wine in the lobby. Case in point: Monument Piano Trio.
Or again, the genius behind Parlor Series and house concerts — accessible performance in intimate settings. No walls at all there.
Samantha, I totally agree. I think too many musicians get hung up on interacting after the show. It shouldn’t have to be that way.
Intimate venues like An Die Musik and Parlor Series help break down that barrier and remind us that we are all just people that like to communicate and share experiences.
Thankfully we have some great mutual friends that are masters at this and now that we have met we can carry the torch. 🙂