We talk about good storytellers all the time. We also talk about the good work they produce. But about the reader/watcher/listener? What about the audience? If the storytellers have the onus of creating good work, doesn’t there lie some responsibility within the audience to be good consumers? If the writer should write beautiful prose, the reader should spend time devouring it. If the actor should give a performance of a lifetime, the audience should focus on each of his nuanced displays. If the painter should portray all the magnificence life on canvas, then the viewer should gaze deep.
I’ve spent the last month binge watching The Office (US). I’ve watched 10 years of television in a month and it’s been a roller coaster ride (I’m not done yet, so no spoilers, please). Today I watched a character contemplate infidelity and I contemplated it with her, through her. I felt the pain, anguish, confusion, moral dilemma and animal urge to ignore it. I played my part as a responsible audience member. I invested myself in the characters, actors, writers, the entire theatrical.
The feeling was fleeting but in those few seconds, I lived the story. I hope you do too.