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      When Street Theatre Works and Nobody Gets to Be Wrong

      The motley crew gathered at the HG Warehouse at 9AM on December 1st, 2018 By 10AM we were strolling down Main Street and back up, singing as we went. At the stage we performed for almost an hour. I learned some things about audience participation as the day went on. Thomas Putnam is so smart about those things.....I would have thought it would never work with hundreds of visitors in the Dickens crowds. I was personally proved wrong.

      The Fezziwigs troupe had learned the Sir Roger de Coverley country dance (similar to the Virginia Reel) and we asked individuals from the crowd to join in and we'd help them get through it as we danced in the middle of the street. A couple from out of town, and well dressed in Dickensian garb, joined my dance group of 6 couples. and did quite well with just a little help. Everybody was smiling. Later in the day, well after lunch, I was strolling with Larry and saw this well-dressed couple again. They called out to me and said something like, "That dance was SO MUCH FUN. We want to come back next year and do it again!"

      Then there's The Twelve Days of Christmas. For that Fezziwig Friends each took one day and developed a large body motion for it. Erin and I had "3 French Hens" and did some vigorous wing-flapping with our arms to go with it. On the street all 12 days found a location and enticed audience members to join them for their particular day. We of the French Hens were joined by 3 women in red outfits with abundance of red feathers, and the five of us did some marvelous flapping together each time "3 French Hens" came around. Again, later in the day, when the Women's Chorus was singing in front of the Arcadia mid-afternoon, I saw some wild waving out in the audience and direct eye contact with me, and it was the 3 red French Hens from out of town who recognized me in the middle of the front row of the chorus. And they kept waving every song that we sang. Apparently they had made a friend in Wellsboro.

      I'm going to guess that this happened a lot that Saturday. It's amazing what 5 minutes of audience participation can do to make a stranger feel welcome and part of it all. There are more stories out there. I just know it.

      by Barbara Biddison

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