(Michael Cerveris’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/5; via Pam Green.)
Six weeks after the mass shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the cast of “Fun Home” left Broadway to put on a special benefit performance there. “Fun Home,” which won the Tony Award for best musical last year, is a poignant exploration of family relationships, sexuality and suicide adapted from a graphic memoir by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who is represented in the show by three actresses playing her at different stages of her life.
The trip was proposed by Michael Cerveris, the actor who plays Ms. Bechdel’s father, Bruce. This is an essay by Mr. Cerveris about performing in front of an audience that included relatives and friends of the people who died in the nightclub attack.
Every audience is the same, just in a different way. From night to night, they differ in size, attention, average age and willingness to suspend their disbelief and become partners in the event of a play. Actors make unspoken contracts with each audience. Negotiations can be amicable or contentious, protracted or quickly agreed.