The ever-increasing era of technology has transformed our world of entertainment, once based off of live performance, to a place in which the average person is satisfied by thirty-minute T.V shows or scrolling through social media for pleasure. Are the days of live entertainment, specifically in the theatre, being replaced by this constant societal need for immediate amusement? If the answer to this question ever becomes “yes,” then I will definitely be questioning whether the world has any chance at further expressive progression or if we have reached a point in which human and machine are one in the same. Living in a country that has given true meaning to the phrase “American Theatre,” we should all make a point to invest in seeing at least one of the hundreds of amazing produced shows at some moment throughout our lifetime. Now, I’m sure you are asking yourself, “Why would I pay money to go to a theatre when I could just as easily hit “download” and have access to unlimited entertainment, from Gossip Girl to Mythbusters?” Well, allow me explain.
1) Human Emotion Can Truly Be Felt
Yeah I know what you’re thinking, “But I totally felt it when Chuck and Blair finally said three words, eight letters to each other!” Listen, I’m all for onscreen romance, but the way human emotion can be seen and transferred in a live performance is unlike any attempt a camera has made in arousing personal feelings. There is nothing like sitting in the same room as an actor who has committed everything to creating moments in which you, as a third party can actually experience, with all five senses, a deep emotional connection to a character. Intense or exciting moments formed in live performances can demonstrate the most raw and rare interpretation of humanity.
2) Each Performance Establishes a Different Experience
Every time you watch Season 4, Episode 13 of One Tree Hill, Nathan and Haley will still be saying the same words, in the exact same tone, with the exact same body language to each other-I promise; however, even if you are seeing the same musical 4 nights in a row, there are unlimited aspects of the performance that can change. One of the most unique characteristics of live entertainment is the fact that no matter how many times a person has played a specific character, sang a song, or danced a dance, they will never be able to exactly replicate any one performance to another. So yeah, I love watching Nathan and Haley’s “Always and Forever,” speech as much as the next girl, but being able to witness deep emotions such as love or hate portrayed differently time and time again is always remarkable.
3) In Depth Analysis of Social Issues
I am not going to sit here and argue that there aren’t any Netflix shows or movies that attempt to expose critical social issues; we all could probably make a lengthy list in a matter of minutes. That being said, I do believe that the most in depth and complex analysis of past and present social issues can only be found in the theatre. Whether the subject pertains to racism during the nineteen sixties or considering the persecution that could be felt by someone in the LGBT community, the theatre is the only place (in my opinion), that truly exposes and encourages careful thought on critical societal issues.
4.) You Have The Chance To Be Involved
Theatre is one of the few art forms that still creates opportunities for audience participation. As much as I would love for Ryan Gosling to pull me into one of his movies and encourage my participation, the barrier that is technology will unfortunately not allow this to happen (at least in my lifetime). On the other hand, I can think of countless live performances that actually need and want audience members to make their way to the stage. Unlike your favorite Netflix show, these performances allow for the once and a lifetime opportunity to not only experience live actors, but also have the chance to become one yourself.
4) The Spectacle Is Matchless
And finally, when considering the last reason to go to the theatre over binge watching Netflix, remember that everything you observe is produced through the talents of other people. Whether you fall in love with an actor, want to steal a dress for your own closet, or think the set of a show could potentially be your dream house, keep in mind that these elements did not just magically appear and are not just computer-generated reality. Everything you see and everything you experience in the theatre is a result of countless hours of hard work and a true aptitude for producing an original display unlike anything else.
So yes, I will agree that our technology-driven generation and society can be witness to endless benefits machines such as laptops or iphones have by accessing unlimited forms of entertainment in a matter of seconds. But I urge you, at least once in your lifetime, to go back to the basics and let yourself experience the original and irreplaceable form of true American entertainment: the art of theatre.