This curtain speech was recently delivered at a Chicago theatre opening:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to to opening of our show. I am artistic director here and we are glad to have you here with us to share in tonight's celebration. How many of you have seen one of our shows before?
(show of hands)
That's great. Welcome back - we're glad you're hear. How many of you are seeing one of our shows for the first time?
(greater show of hands)
Wow! That's great. Well, welcome and we hope that you enjoy what you see and come back.
Now I am at a bit of a disadvantage. You all know who I am but I don't know your names. I don't want to delay the show by going around and meeting everyone of you and I don't think that it would work very well if you all shouted your names at once. So instead I suggest that you take a moment to introduce yourself to those around you instead.
(some people begin to do so)
Don't worry they won't bite.
(audience gets more into in - the artistic director introduces himself to a few people)
This is what we call "interactive theatre" here. Do you like your seats? You have very nice seats, sir, did you get here early?
(indicating a couple in the front row)
Would you change them? What would the play be like if you were, say, sitting over here? It would be a whole different perspective, wouldn't it? Now we don't have time before the show starts for everyone to get up and find a new seat, but what would it be like if you changed perspectives at intermission perhaps? Something to think about, right?
I'm not forcing anyone to move, but if the inspiration strikes you, I encourage you to try it. But for now, I give you our show.