Thursday, November 08, 2007

Day 7: On orchestra pits, RSS readers, and efficiency vs effectiveness 

We played the show for two weeks at two different theatres. At the first, the orchestra pit was only just over a foot deep – just enough that our heads, when seated, were below the level of the stage. We could still see all the action on the stage, and between us and the audience there was only a low curtained partition so we could see them – at least in part - and they us.

For the second week though, we were in a fully-fledged orchestra pit which ran under the front of the stage (complete with lift, which could move the entire front part of the pit floor from pit to auditorium to stage level; regrettably, we weren’t allowed to ride it and arise, Wurlitzer-like, from the depths). We could see only head and shoulders of the cast when they stood at the very front of that stage – which they were understandably reluctant to do as there was a 9 foot drop into the pit. The audience was completely invisible to us.

What a contrast that physical separation made. Never mind 5 feet deep – the pit might as well have been 50 feet deep; the band felt disconnected from both cast and audience for that second week. There was something vital missing; with much less feeling of involvement – of being part of the show – we could have been playing in a studio.

(I have to confess though that the second week’s arrangement wasn’t altogether without its advantages. Like passing round a tin of chocs between songs; being able to yawn luxuriously as burning-the-candle-at-both-ends took its toll; taking breaks to stretch legs – the show runs for 3 hours, including the interval).

Blogging through an RSS reader is a bit like the downside of that second week. It was the promise of connection with like-minded souls which first drew me into blogging and sustained me for the first couple of years. But using an RSS reader is like being in that second orchestra pit. You still hear the sounds, but you’re a step removed from them, and from the responses. Reading posts in a reader, I don’t read the comments so often, hence don’t get engaged in the conversations.

It may be efficient, but it’s not very effective. Writing one post a day only addresses part of the issue of rejuvenating this blogging practice; some more changes around here are called for.

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