“Seven Reasons Live Theatre is Best in Person”
By Matthew Calhoun
Although live theatre is no longer a quintessential mode of entertainment, it still has its merits. It offers us a unique experience where we get to come together as a community and see a live performance. If you’re still wondering whether live theatre is best experienced in person, here are seven reasons why you should go see your next play in a live setting.
Every night is different
Live theatre lives and dies the night that it is performed. The show that played on Monday can be slightly different on Thursday. Why? Because it is all happening live. There are no redoes, no second chances. If a mistake is made, an actor must roll with it. If a prop is missing, a showrunner must improvise. The circumstances making it a live performance help the show be different from night to night. An audience can change the effectiveness of the play drastically. Moreover, actors can find new ways to express a character or more effective emotions for an audience. Unlike film, live theater requires that actors adapt on the fly because they never know what could go right or wrong. This makes a show authentic, even after multiple views. It’s one of many reasons live theatre can be better than movies.
One of the best parts about live theatre is the ability of an actor to use the crowd’s energy. This can make an otherwise dull character truly come alive. When an audience and an actor get in sync, comedic timing and dramatic effect work very well to sell a scene. In the end, it’s just an actor standing on stage, but the emotion, laughter, and ambiance are palpable. Whether it’s Peter Pan or Waiting for Godot, an audience’s actions can make or break a play.
It's a participatory event
Even though you’re not acting on stage, live theatre holds an incredible opportunity to make you part of the show. The actors get to feed off your energy and in turn, the show becomes better for it. Sometimes live theatre has intentionally interactive moments with the audience. This is why it is so important to go to live theater at least once. It’s an experience unlike any other that you can’t get in a movie theater. It feels as if a community is coming together under one roof.
Unlike movies, live theatre can’t hide things with a green screen. Practical sets, props, and effects are built from scratch. There is no CGI to compensate for a character not existing in real life. If you’re a fan of practical effects then you need to see live theatre. More importantly, if you’re a fan of practical makeup artistry then you should definitely go see a show. People are always surprised when they seek makeup artists to flaunt their skills in a creative way. If you are looking for creative stagecraft, shows like The Lion King is revolutionary in set and stage design.
Acting at its best
If you want to test your skills as an actor, you don’t go to Hollywood, you go to live theatre. Live theatre gives you only one take to get the emotion and scene structure correct. You don’t have multiple takes to work up your emotions as you do in a film. It’s one shot to get it correct or nothing at all. If you want to see some truly amazing performers who can consistently evoke emotion then look to live theatre.
Live theatre has been innovating since its inception. The stage has stayed the same, but incorporating technology has vastly improved the theatre-going experience. People are making stages move, having people disappear, and creating magic, all with simple tools. You don’t have to go see the biggest blockbuster to see something that makes you go “Wow!”
Live theatre spans back thousands of years. It has always been used as a tool to contemplate society and our role within it. Theatre has a lot to offer because of that personal touch and being in the moment with that story. By going to a night of theatre, you’re doing the same thing people did thousands of years ago. There is a lot of history connected to those stages. Why not be a part of that history?
Article originally published at docklinemagazine.com on July 17 2020.
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