My two most recent outings, Our Town at Ford's and Henry V at Folger, share the conceit of an actor reminding the audience that we are required to use our imaginations to help actualize the fiction they are about to present.
That's probably where the comparison ends, but it did stand out for me since I got to see these plays on subsequent Sunday matinees. Both are small stages; like Ford's, the Folger Shakespeare Library makes much with very little space, even without the minds of the audience filling in the gaps.
And, like Ford's, Folger presents challenges to the audience in search of a clear sight line. Not knowing from nothing, I landed a great view of the pillar you see prominent in the right balcony. Well, at least the chair wasn't bolted down and I could scoot closer in and lean my chin on the rail.
I have to admit to being a bit of a dork when the Stage Manager/Chorus tell me to picture the landscape of Grover's Corner or the fields at Agincourt, because I did just that, thanks to the actors handling this role, Portia for Our Town and Michael John Casey for Henry V.
Lots of "old friends" to see at Ford's, including Tom Story as a Simon Stimson with unusually convincing drunken cynicism. Since this was my first trip to Folger's, all were new to me. My friends, this time, were real people (i.e., audience), thanks to the Meetup group. The actors I hope to see around town again include the above-mentioned Casey and Katie deBuys, the young actress shockingly playing both "Katherine of France" and "Boy." It was one of the Meetup mates who noted this astonishing accomplishment of casting when she read the program.
And in the department of As Luck Would Have it, I was reading the Henry V program on the Metro on my way home, and a gentleman seeing the program in my hands asked how I enjoyed the play (very much). It turns out he was Katie's proud father, and I was happy to deliver our group's enthusiastic reviews of his daughter's work.
So we are all made-up families and friends in real worlds of the imagination. Or the other way around.