Sunday, September 11, 2005

There's A Signpost Up Ahead

That was one of the lines from the cabaret show that John wrote, Detour.



That was one of the signs from the same show. It had been my idea to add it in on the Provincetown tour. I would hold it up during a few sections that had no observable transitions and hopefully get a laugh.

No one laughed. But granted, it's hard to get 7 people to laugh. For an audience to feel comfortable enough to emit an audible response requires a certain number of participants, what I like to call the Quorum Quotient.

The Quorum Quotient can be described by the following equation:
Q = ((N ÷ S) x ((A + 1) x T)) ÷ L

Where Q is Quorum Quotient, N is Number of Audience Members, T is Length of Show (or Time), A is Alcohol Consumed, L is Light (as in how well the Audience Members can see each other and is reflected in a number between 0 and 1, 0 being pitch black and 1 blinding sunlight) and S is Number of Empty Seats.

Okay, for instance, let's analyze our Ptown Saturday night audience. N = 7, S = 50, A = 2, T = 1, and L = .6. So:
Q = ((7 ÷ 50) x ((2 + 1) x 1) ÷ .6 = .7

Any number below 1 is NOT GOOD. For instance, let's say that it had been darker in the performance space and set L = .2:
Q = ((7 ÷ 50) x ((2 + 1) x 1) ÷ .2 = 2.1

Already you see the effect that darkening the room has. Now let's double our audience number, setting N = 14:
Q = ((14 ÷ 50) x ((2 + 1) x 1) ÷ .2 = 4.2

And we've doubled our Quorum Quotient!!! But, let's say that we've got a completely sober audience:
Q = ((14 ÷ 50) x ((0 + 1) x 1) ÷ .2 = 1.4

Look how the Quorum Quotient drops without alcohol!!! Nobody's laughing in that room!!!

Now let's examine an ideal scenario: Full house, relatively dark room and a two-drink minimum.
Q = ((50 ÷ 50) x ((2 + 1) x 1) ÷ .3 = 10

A WHOPPING 10!!! A 10, I say!!!!!

So the scale works something like this...when the Quorum Quotient is between 5 and 10, chances are that, unless your show totally sucks, your audience feels comfortable enough to laugh, cry, and/or applaud - in other words they can be audible while feeling anonymous. A QQ between 3 and 5 requires that your show is really tight and well-constructed, as the audience won't necessarily feel their response is of unknown origin. And pretty much any QQ between 0 and 3 means you'll feel like your doing the show at an echo point on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Interestingly enough, this post is not about the Quorum Quotient. It's about finding a piece of one's memories lying in the gutter on a street in New York. It's not so much sad or angering as just somehow unfortunate. We're all just passing through this world and we know that our existence here is transient, yet to have it stuck right in front of your face just seems like fate giving you the big bitchslap.

3 What'd you say?

Blogger D said...

Your a modern day Einstein...with breasts! I wish I knew what Quorum or Quotient meant though...

11:36 PM, September 11, 2005  
Anonymous Max said...

Funny you should say that 'cos A Beautiful Mind was on telly last night.

7:44 AM, September 12, 2005  
Anonymous *lynne* said...

hi,
have been dropping by your site via Little Neo's randomm blog directory :-)
just thot you'd like to know, I'd be one of those few people who would have at least chuckled, if not LOL'ed, seeing your sign :-)
(I like your Quorum Quotient theory too, btw)
take care!

1:19 PM, September 15, 2005  

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