Fran Lebowitz said the audience is important to the culture. I hadn’t thought of an audience this way. I mean, yes, I’ve read a thousand times, “Know your audience.”
That rule I’ve failed to follow. Who is my audience? My demographic? I know more who it isn’t more than I know who it is.
But that’s another issue.
Every writer and artist needs an audience, which means a group of people who can connect to what your work. You may need people who possess certain sensibilities, certain tastes, certain vocabulary. If their is no audience, what happens to the work?
Maybe another playwright in 1610 wrote dazzling plays, but he had no audience. Shakespeare had the audience. Shakespeare still has an audience. What perfect time travel is that? A few hundred years ago a middle-aged British man scribbled out a play on parchment, and in 2013 a middle-aged American woman reads his play on a computer screen.
Shakespeare never could have imagined such a thing. His audience sat around a stage and he could see them, walk among them, if he wanted to.
What would happen to our culture if Shakespeare’s audience disappeared? Could that happen?
Maybe we shouldn’t have campaigns that just focus on saving the arts. Maybe we need to have a campaign that says, “Save the Audience!”