Well, I think there are different kinds of theater. Historically, theater hasn’t always been this quiet, sit-down affair. It certainly wasn’t in Shakespeare’s day. Theater is like sports, you have golf and tennis over here, and the whole audience gets quiet, and you don’t make a sound. At the other end, you have ice hockey and everybody’s screaming. But we never mix up golf and hockey. I honestly believe there’s a spectrum, even in theater. Are you going to talk at a Peter Brook production of Hamlet? Or The Seagull? Of course not. You have certain types of behavior that work for different kinds of theater. But my gripe is that people tend to say, “Well, that’s the way theater is. You have to be quiet.” Everything doesn’t necessarily have to be like The Seagull. You can have Hair or The Donkey Show. [Paulus’s first production at the A.R.T. is a re-staging of her New York hit, The Donkey Show, a raucous retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream set in a 1970s disco club.] I think we have the possibility of letting other sorts of behavior be released, and enlivening what we think theater is and what it can do.
-Diane Paulus, the brilliant director of Hair on audience behavior. From an interview with our very own Chris Caggiano. You can check out the full article at Everything I Know I Learned from Musicals.