Call and Response…

There’s a common street performer “trick” to unite the audience and it’s call and response. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s typically used when the performer says something like, “Would you like to see another trick…say YES!” then the audience responds by saying YES.

This an effective technique uniting the audience, they’re doing something together and it helps them start to become an audience and not just a bunch of individuals. This is especially important for an outdoor show where you may have a transient audience. Another thing it does is forces the audience to invest energy into the show. The more they are invested in the show, the more they will stay and watch the show…and like it!

I like the technique, but I personally don’t like how most people do it, they’re doing it simply because it’s effective. There’s no real purpose besides filling a hole in the show because you don’t have a segue to the next routine.

When I use it in my show, I give it a bit of meaning. In my Drawing in Ball of Yarn routine, I do it to have the audience vote on whether I should buy the person’s drawing. It accomplishes the same thing and just telling the audience to say “yes”, in fact it actually moves the show forward!

With a little bit of thought, you can find ways to use this technique to move the show forward, instead of a hack bit.