3.4 Performance run: results and feedback.

Neptune poster by Emma Hansén.

Despite all the previously described challenges and the cancellation of first three shows, the rest of the run went relatively smoothly. The show turned out to be almost two and a half hours long (with an interval), which made it a bit more difficult to perform when we had it scheduled twice a day. However, overall, it was manageable, and I believe that everyone more or less adjusted to the rhythm and gave their best effort and maximum energy. We had six performances in total.


As for the audience feedback and reception, it was generally positive. I mentioned that Greta and I had worried about possible issue with participation since we had a lot of games and interactions scripted in the show, and those things are always unpredictable. Generally, I prefer to go with an assumption of the worst possible scenario: for example, no one wants to respond to MC at all, or something triggering or rude happens. This assumption usually helps me prepare for negative situations, so before every show I already had an idea in which direction I would stir my narrative if people were unwilling to collaborate. That was also one of the reasons I thought that I needed to play MC myself – I have a lot of experience working in clubs and dealing with audience interaction, and I knew that it usually requires some improvisational skills that not every other performer was comfortable exercising. However, despite my prognosis, all interactive bits went well. I am happy to say that we had genuinely responsive and open-minded audiences (probably due to the fact that we performed in a theatre academy, and the majority of our audience members were involved in creative practices themselves).


We also received generally positive feedback. However, I still feel the lack of something more elaborate. A typical feedback that I would normally get was either someone crying and thanking me for sharing this story, or saying that it was great and they were too emotional to discuss. This is not to say that we did not get any critical comments, but they were also not particularly elaborate and mostly touched upon the length of the show. In fact, perhaps the most common critique I received, was that the show was a bit too long, and that it might have been due to its repetitive structure (viewers already knew how many scenes there would be due to the monthly structure so there was no significant change of pace or tension, which made the show feel longer). This commentary was slightly inconsistent as well because some other audience members expressed an opposite opinion – that the show actually did not feel that long precisely because of the monthly structure (people knew how much is left and were able to manage their expectations).


Overall, I wish I could have more consistent and prolonged critique, but that is often something to be desired. On the other hand, I was very happy to hear that for some people this show did exactly what I wanted it to do – give hope or make them feel that they were not alone, that their stories were somehow also heard. That is what I meant earlier when mentioning that the Theatre Academy was not, in my opinion, the best place to showcase Neptune. This was a play and a show for queer community and it might have felt more in its right place in some queer performance space, where I it would have probably reached even more people that needed to hear my message, but those are just assumptions and I might as well be wrong.