Theater folk tend to get complain-y about the post-show Q&A. We get tired of questions about the process and How did you Think of that and How do you do all those Facial Expressions. They in fact give me hives and flashbacks to audience talkback moments in which I’ve been called racist and ignorant and various other colorful things. They can get out of hand, but ultimately, they are SO IMPORTANT. They make an audience feel involved. Heard. I was reminded of this last night after a CTG performance of Buyer and Cellar (which PS, is so gay and so great). I hung around for the talkback because my buddy Joy Meads was moderating (and dang: is she good) and well, I was actually curious about the process of creating the show. The questions were specific, insightful. I was doubly reminded of my trip to Russia, which was something like almost three years ago now? Throughout the week of readings of new plays, the tiny theaters were standing room only packed to the brim with audience members, during AND after the readings. The talkbacks were just as well attended as the readings themselves. A person would stand, introduce themselves, their name and what they do, and then ask their incredibly blunt question (Playwright: does this part of the play embarrass you? Is it about your life?) which ended up getting at some deep truth. I’m reminded: the audience is just as involved in the play while watching it as you are when you’re writing it. Making the play is our part; digesting it and talking about it and questioning it is theirs.