Peter Marks says, don't break it, asshole:
One of the most annoying trends in modern theater: actors who are instructed to make us part of the play.
It happens all the time. Playwrights, directors and performers all seem to think that we want to be part of their act, that during a performance we're desperate for actors to descend into the aisles, converse with us, tussle our hair--even, occasionally, drag us back up into the footlights with them.
It occurred again the other day at a subversive little play at Studio Theatre in DC, "Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven." Repeatedly, the actors broke what's known in drama classes as the fourth wall. They sidled up to playgoers in the first row and led them onto the stage, to perform fairly meaningless little chores, like holding up the ends of a makeshift screen. There was method here: the activity was meant to mask the participation in the play of some actual actors sitting in the audience. But still, you could sense that some of the unwitting performers would rather have been left alone. And as paying customers, didn't they deserve to be?
Your thoughts? I've never done more than light audience participation. I think at most an actor coming down the aisle and shaking someone's hand.