Breaking the 4th Wall with “Playboy”
South of Broadway breaks down the 4th wall with Playboy of the Western World
What is the 4th wall exactly? Simply stated, it is the imaginary wall that separates the audience from the actors. For the audience, it safely allows them to suspend their willingness to disbelieve what they are about to see onstage. For the performer, even though they are fully aware of the audience, the 4th wall enables the actor to inhabit the world of the play completely. However, there are artists who like to break the 4th wall down to engage the audience one step further. And thatʼs what Linda Eisen, Director of The Playboy of The Western World wants to do at The South of Broadway Theatre.
And thatʼs why Iʼm thrilled to be part of this production.
The play takes place in and around an Irish pub in Ireland. Lindaʼs vision is to transform
South of Broadwayʼs theatre into the public house. So upon entrance to the theatre, the audience will walk directly into the world of the play. In
addition, there will be actors working the bar and engaging the audience with
conversation and cheer. While this approach is non-traditional, it allows everyone in
the space to share and experience something unique in the time theyʼve chosen to
spend together. For me, this style of theatre is scary and exciting. And I know ﬁrst hand
that itʼs the same for the audience members. It brings to mind a quote Iʼm fond of,
“Give me the same thing, only different” The prospect of drawing the audience in before
the show actually starts creates a subtle means of putting them on notice. They might not
want to sit their passively for fear of being part of the show. It will either make them feel
at ease…or not. Regardless, a story will be told and people will internalize and draw
their own conclusions on what it means to them.
When I was approached by Linda about her concept for Playboy, it was a no brainer. Iʼve always been a fan of things non-traditional in a theatrical sense, which is not to say I donʼt like traditional theatre. But the chance to do something different is what truly appeals to me. I had two acting mentors who left an indelible impression on me when I ﬁrst started acting. And one thing they used to always say is, “in acting you have to take chances and make a bold choice” Iʼm not sure Iʼve always succeeded in that but when the opportunity exists to take that chance, I will do so. And I think Lindaʼs idea of making the world of the play more accessible by virtue of breaking the 4th wall is a bold choice for everyone involved in the production. Be brave and bold with us. You won’t forget it!
Cheers!! Hope to see you at the pub!
Playboy of the Western World opens March 13 and runs through March 29. Tickets Here