An amusing and insightful little article by UK actor and writer Simon Callow on the art of the curtain call. Here's the first paragraph.
"One of the most universally held beliefs about the theatre is that performers are applause junkies, living for that moment at the end of the evening when they step down to the footlights and gratefully accept their reward. My own experience - and, I think, that of many of my colleagues - has been rather different. Most of us do not view the curtain call with relish. What matters much more is what has passed between us and the audience over the course of the evening. Of course that may involve applause - especially if it's a musical - but even then, it's the minute-by-minute interplay (as often as not silent) that really counts; the sense of communication, the engagement with an audience. It is generally the case that an audience who have laughed and applauded a great deal during the show will be less forthcoming at the curtain call: they've done their bit, and the final bringing together of hands is more a formality than anything else."