We wanted our audience as involved as possible. This was the first moment: they were in a court room. They rose for the Judge, who immediately told them to sit down. This was an area where we were unsure how the audience would react: British audiences (familiar with panto) are used to the fourth wall dissolving, and them being addressed from the stage. There is no panto tradition in the US. But we figured we could bully them into it. Much of the cast were in the audience and were told in advace to react like we wanted the rest of the audience to react (I sent a long email out about how hard they should clap, if they should laugh etc).
The standing up and sitting down at this point was to give the audience a sense of being involved, so that when they were asked to (gasp!) sing along, they would already be in the habit of joining in. Cheap psychology.
In the event, we needn't have worried: we had the most brilliant audience in Edinburgh - they were on the ball, they picked up every reference, and they did 'join in with gusto when you are asked to'.
Updated 06 Jan 2002
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