Opening night of QTC’s presentation of Sydney Theatre Company’s “The Secret River” ended with an immediately, prolonged and absolutely deserved standing ovation.
Unfortunately for truly glorious and absolutely deserving shows such as this, standing ovations are now almost expected a standard response, rather than the mark of an extraordinary performance of particularly high acclaim. It is an occurrence that is now so common that it sometimes feels as if a show that doesn’t get a standing ovation must be a bit of a failure, especially in Brisbane, where audiences seem to give away ovations all too easily.
So some questions arise…. What if you really don’t think the show merits such public adulation? Should you stand just because everyone else does? Or on the flip side, should you leap to your feet and risk being the only one standing in a sea of seated patrons?
While live theatre strives to create a direct connection with its audience members, as individuals these people will surely react differently to what they have experienced. However, making ovations a nightly ritual, perhaps as justification to self of the worth of your investment of time and money, renders them meaningless. Saving your ovation for a performance you consider truly worthy is a show of discernment and an experience to be savoured as intersection between the worlds of art and reality.
… Either way though, just don’t go leaving before the curtain call, because that is just poor theatre etiquette.